Is Rijeka Croatia’s Next Big Cruise Destination?

Lauren Simmonds

Rijeka is often referred to as an overlooked coastal gem, but does this Northern Adriatic city have what it takes to draw in the large cruise crowds?

The Rijeka Port Administration, in cooperation with the City of Rijeka and Rijeka’s Tourist Board, is taking out various measures to revitalise and breathe a breath of fresh air into Rijeka’s cruise tourism.

As Morski writes on the 31st of March, 2018, the economic effects of cruise tourism are significant in both the local and regional context, Dubrovnik is a prime example of the positives and the negatives involved in this very ”heavy” form of mass tourism.

Nevertheless, cruise tourism is the driving force behind the development of numerous service activities and a source of both private and public sector revenue. In this way, new jobs are opened up frequently, business is always expanding, a number of different service activities are growing, the number of taxi services, souvenir shops and the like also subsequently increases. The impact on the economy depends primarily on the cruise destination offer, as has been written by the Rijeka Port Authority.

In the pursuit of these thoughts, a survey was carried out in cooperation with the Faculty of Maritime Studies in Rijeka, for passengers and crew members, as well as for businessmen. The research is based on collecting data through personal interviews with tourists/staff and businessmen.

The aim of this research is to provide both the port and the City of Rijeka with the relevant information that will help them to continuously improve the services provided to the cruise sector. This research did not cover solely the spending habits of passengers arriving in Rijeka, but also many other segments discussed by the Dean of the Faculty of Maritime Studies in Rijeka, Dr. Alen Jugović.

Dr. Alen Jugović emphasised that the analysis and research of the spending habits and trends of Rijeka’s cruise passengers provided useful information about how those arriving in Rijeka via the sea viewed the city as a cruise destination. Their spending and overall satisfaction was carefully analysed in the research and the aim is now constant work on improving Rijeka’s overall services for cruise passengers, and what Rijeka as a potential cruise destination can provide to that group of tourists.

It should be noted that the aforementioned study of the spending habits, trends and activities of cruise passengers in Rijeka is unique because aside from exploring the opinions and experiences of passengers, the opinions and thoughts of businessmen and various cultural institutions in the City of Rijeka and its surroundings were also very much taken into account.

The Dean of the Faculty of Maritime Studies in Rijeka, associate professor. dr. sc. Alen Jugović, stated that it was necessary to emphasise that the students of the Faculty of Maritime Studies participated in the realisation of this study project, in addition to the teachers of the Maritime Faculty of the University of Rijeka, with special gratitude to the students of the Degree Program in Economics and Organisation of Maritime and Passenger Traffic.

In addition to being a helping hand to Rijeka as a cruise destination, this model of cooperation between economic institutions, the local community and educational institutions is praiseworthy and shows how such cooperation can bring about a lot of positive features and development guidelines for the future.

Promotion of destinations of any kind should be a permanently moving activity which cannot be left to stagnate, it needs to be constantly checked, tweaked and adjusted with the ever-moving tourism trends. Further activities will be carried out in the forthcoming period to put the Northern Adriatic city on the cruise map, and stamp Rijeka’s place as a recognisable cruise destination.


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