What’s the Impact of Ultra Europe Music Festival on Split?

Daniela Rogulj

Just three months remain until the wildly popular Ultra Europe music festival returns to the Dalmatian capital. 

The festival has been making headlines in recent weeks, and while the dates have been announced for the 2017 music spectacle at Poljud stadium, it seems as if that is the only concrete detail thus far.

Last Thursday, a meeting between the Ministry of Tourism, director and ministers of HTZ, representatives of Ultra, and representatives of the city of Split and the city and county tourist boards showed the seriousness of the matter. While the meeting was closed to the public, it has been noted that the nearly 3-hour long gathering resulted without a clear agreement and with the fact that Ultra needs money – and could be seeking as much as 10 million HRK, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on April 16, 2017. 

A particular problem is that the Croatian organizers of Ultra failed to report their tenders on time for co-financing from the Croatian National Tourist Board and local tourist offices – which they received funds from last year. Without these extra millions, the likelihood of the event has been put into question. 

For the Ultra 2016 festival, the city of Split gave organizers 2 million HRK of which 400,000 HRK was in cash and the rest in utilities and other services from Split companies. The Tourist Board of Split gave the festival 200,000 HRK last year, and the Tourist Board of Split-Dalmatia County another 350,000 HRK. Similar amounts were prepared to be given this year, but the organizers have said that it is not enough. 

According to data from the Ultra organizers, the festival generates a consumption of 288 million HRK, with 35,000 visitors a day who spend 200 EUR per day. More than 300,000 overnights occur over the duration of the festival and more than 140,000 meals are ordered that pay the hospitality industry. 

While presenting the outstanding marketing value of Ultra for the whole of Croatian tourism, the organizers suggest that over the last four years, the number of beds in private accommodation in Split has increased by a whopping 422 percent. In addition, the number of overnight stays in July has been higher over the last four years by 250 percent. 

The overall impact of Ultra on GDP, according to the organizers, is greater than 450 million HRK and comes through direct foreign consumption, investments, multiplicative effects and increased domestic consumption. Because all of this would not have been possible without Ultra, the organizers are looking to the state, city, and county to ensure the 5-10 million HRK they require. 

The organizers are also looking to speak with Split hoteliers in an effort to ensure lower prices for guests during the event, and they’re even hoping to receive financial support from the Split airport because of the increased traffic Ultra brings in.

What will actually happen remains to be seen, but around 20,000 tickets have been sold already for this year’s event, making it pretty difficult to imagine its cancellation.

The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli, director of HTZ Ratomir Ivčić, commissioner of the city of Split Branka Ramljak, head of finance Ljiljana Vučetić, director of the Tourist Board of Split Alijana Vukšić, director of Tourist Board of Split-Dalmatia County Joško Stella, and acting head of tourism and maritime affairs of Split-Dalmatia County Stipe Čogelja. 


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