January 25, 2020 – If 2019 was the year of overtourism, is 2020 the year crowded destinations fight back? CNN reports on various initiatives, including from Dubrovnik.
Where once Dubrovnik was hailed as one of the must-see destinations of Europe, the Pearl of the Adriatic, in recent years it has been more likely to be featured in the international media as a poster child of a new scourge of modern travel – overtourism.
Multiiple daily cruise ships, an army of Game of Thrones fans, and the incessant tour bus day-trippers from neighbouring (and not so neighbouring) destinations all played their part to crowd the historic old town that limits to the number of people allowed in were introduced, and locals advised to stay indoors at certain times of the day.
Dubrovnik was not alone in being a victim of its own success, with top destinations such as Venice, Amsterdam and Barcelona also feeling the strain. It is an issue which needs to be urgently addressed if the charms of what make these destinations so attractive and unique are not to be lost.
In a detailed feature, CNN looks at the various initiatives being undertaken by five European destinations which have been worst-affected by overtourism – Amsterdam, Santorini, Barcelona, Venice and Dubrovnik:
Mayor of Dubrovnik Mato Franković has cast himself as a crusader against mass tourism, shutting down 80% of souvenir stalls, and restricting cruise ships to two per day.
The stalls remain closed, and the two-ship rule was abided to 70% of the time during 2019, he tells CNN. It will be further enforced (with, he says, higher compliance) in 2020.
“There’s not such a big impact to the city now,” he says. “Everyone should feel comfortable without any [pedestrian] jams.”In November 2019, Franković proposed an effective ban on new restaurants (the vast majority of Dubrovnik restaurants have seating mainly inside, so the legislation has banned any new outdoor tables).
That resolution was passed by the city, and a spokesperson told CNN that it is due to come into force for 2020.
To learn more about the city, check out the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide.