Booming Split: Interview with Tourist Board Director Alijana Vukšić

Total Croatia News

Ivan Ivanisevic

Tourism in Split is booming. 2016 is seeing the busiest year at its airport, and all the tourism indicators have been sharply increasing in the last few years, as the Dalmatian capital has established itself as one of the hippest destinations in all Europe. From the peak season Ultra Europe music festival to the popular and expanding Advent in Split, the city is rapidly growing into a diverse 12-month nation, and is no longer the ‘Gateway to the Dalmatian Islands’ with little to explore beyong World Heritage Site Diocetian’s Palace. TCN caught up with Split Tourist Board director Alijana Vukšić to find out more.

1. For many years Split was known as the Gateway to the Islands, and now it is has become one of the hottest destinations in Europe. What are the main factors in this incredible change?

Split offers an unforgettable experience throughout the year. One of the main factors is actually better connections between all the stake holders which are necessary for the overall development of tourism. With our tourists the city is full of positive energy. I must emphasize the contribution of the new project „City Break“ to the development of Split, a project which offers sightseeing tours and tickets for events such as current concerts or theater. We are trying to develop our offer in the post-season. Furthermore, guests with a SplitCard have various benefits, from free entrance to the city’s museums and galleries, to discounts at many restaurants, shops and service providers.

2. Tell us a little about the dynamics of the change. Which countries are providing the biggest growth, and how does the profile of the Split tourist today compare with a decade ago?

Every year we are recording an increasing number of tourists and overnight stays in Split which is a strong indicator of our work. Traditionally our leading source markets are Germany, UK, USA, France and Poland. Today’s tourists want more than just tourist attractions. Except the rich offer of our tourist products tourists want to experience life in Split, feel how our locals live, try our traditional cuisine, be a part of Split.

3. Ultra Europe has been a key part of the city’s image to younger people in the four years since it has had its festival in Split. Will it be back next year?

Ultra Europe has become one of, if not the biggest house music festival on the continent and has brought in loads of younger tourists. For now, Ultra Europe Festival will stay in Split which makes us very proud. It adds value to the existing tourist offer, as well as bringing a new profile of guest who contribute to the destination image. Watch the Ultra Europe 2015 Aftermovie below to see how Split blends nicely with a major festival.

4. Work is due to start finally on the new airport terminal, which is great news. What progress is there on attracting year-round flights to the city?

With the construction of a new terminal, the airport will be able to achieve an annual turnover of more than two million passengers. Split airport will have European standards and be able to comfortably accommodate more than two million passengers per year.

5. Advent in Split has really brought the city alive in the traditionally quiet period of the year. Would it be fair to call Split now a 12-month tourist destination?

The event „Advent in Split“ has spread to almost all city squares and made Split a real Christmas tale, and become a reason for the growing number of visits by foreign and domestic tourists. They all together are enjoying the warm offers from gastronomy of traditional meals to entertainment events for all age groups. Advent in Split offers a truly unique mix of celebration of Advent events and holidays on the Adriatic coast. In 2014, we joined the pilot project Croatia 365 that provides us with better market visibility as a destination that offers products throughout the year. By creating new events for foreign and domestic guests we try to extend the season and strengthen the post-season in Split because it is one of the priorities.

6. What is the strategic vision for Split? Where do you envisage Split to be as a destination five years from now?

In 5 years I see Split as a competitive global tourist destination with a diverse touristic offer and improved touristic products with sustainable development fro tourism. We will improve the existing touristic products and develop new ones.

(TCN with Split Tourist Board director Alijana Vukšić at last year’s Gastro Advent in Split at Re di Mare restaurant)

7. And finally, if you had to describe in a sentence ‘Why Split?’ to a tourist who had never heard of the city, what would that sentence be?

Choose Split if you don’t want to feel like a tourist but together with local people explore and experience the natural, cultural and gastronomic richness that Split provides.


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