'We Can't Sell Tradition For the Price of Five Cocktails': Mayor of Hvar Town on a Mission to Rebrand Island

By , 16 Jun 2017, 15:02 PM Lifestyle
'We Can't Sell Tradition For the Price of Five Cocktails': Mayor of Hvar Town on a Mission to Rebrand Island Romulic and Stojcic

Share this:

Appalled by the current image of Hvar island in the international media, new mayor of Hvar Town wants to stop the incessant partying.

Britain's leading newspaper The Sun recently introduced Hvar island to their readers under the credo "more drugs, more drink, more sex", calling one of Croatia's most beloved destinations "new Magaluf". The UNESCO-protected island now stands branded as Sodom and Gomorrah, luring young Brits with promises of unforgettable vacation drenched in booze and sex.

To no surprise, everyone jumped to accuse the unbridled youth and their loose morals, as if the tourists took it upon themselves to personally rebrand the previously peaceful cultural destination. Local tourism boards didn't lift a finger to try and stop the transformation process of Hvar's reputation before the situation spun out of control, and why would they? As long as the income from tourism keeps steadily increasing and they can brag about spiking numbers of overnight stays, it doesn't matter where the profit comes from.

The Sun's piece seems to have shook things up a bit, and now everyone's suddenly appalled and worried – including the Mayor of Hvar Town, Rikardo Novak. The independent candidate won over the mayoral election earlier this month with a promise he'd take care of the party bonanza on the island and stop the tourism suicide on Hvar, reports Jutarnji on June 16, 2017.

Novak got worried after the controversial article was published, and took it as a dangerous incentive for further promotion of Hvar as a destination for partying and getting hammered to no end. Feeling bad about Hvar "not being a synonym for glamour and luxury" anymore, he decided it's time to take care of the abominable image of Hvar's current offer.

"Those with no money don't have anything to do on Hvar these days. In the last 15 years, we got from charging a couple of euro for a room to villas with a weekly renting fee of 15.000 euro, and that elite tourism is still 30% cheaper than the UK. Hvar is known as one of ten world's most prestigious islands for life and tourism, but the other side of that medal is getting visitors who don't know when to stop. Things have taken a bad turn in recent years. We don't want to be recognised as a destination for debauchery. Those party-goers aren't savage tourists who drink cheap bad wine, but a high-income clientele that pays for 200-kuna drinks and has an impression they can do things at Hvar they aren't able to do at home", said Novak.

He's now on a mission to steer the town back to its former image of a place of cultural values, and remind everyone that Hvar holds five items on UNESCO world heritage lists. Partying is a danger to Hvar's tradition, says Novak, and "that can't be sold for five cocktails and all of us need to be aware of that."

Asked about the strategy of rebranding the island again, Novak said he doesn't want to turn anyone away, but that they want tourists to behave as civilised people. "Everyone needs to participate in the upcoming changes: catering business owners, locals, police. Bars and restaurants shouldn't tolerate drunk guests, the municipal officials should make sure nobody walks around the square naked, the police should prevent people from wandering around plastered, and the inspection should take care of music blasting at 2AM. All the measures are at hand, they just need to be carried out. We need to let guests know they are coming to a place of culture. We don't want to end up as strangers in our own town", said Novak.

Measures need to be carried out? Sounds like a great, exhaustive plan so far. Can't wait to see how that goes.

From Croatia with Madness

Croatia Traffic Info

  • Drive carefully on the A7 motorway (15th km) in direction Zagreb between the junctions Matulji and Jušići due to a broken-down vehicle. Traffic is intensified on the roads in direction coast, in direction interior and on the roads along the coast. Sections of the roads closed due to roadworks: -the DC29 from Novi Golubovec (DC29, DC35) -the DC502 Smilčić-Pridraga state road -ŽC5042 Višnjan-Tićan. Traffic is regulated by traffic signals/one road lane is free only: -on the DC1 state road in Knin, on the section Sučević-Otrić in Otrić -on the DC1 state road on the section Jošani-Udbina-Ondić -on the state road DC2 in Vukovar, (Kudeljarska and Priljevo street) -on the state road DC66 Pula- Raša bridge -on the state road DC206 Valentinovo-Petrovsko. With the sunny and dry weather, more and more cyclists and motorists are on the roads. Other vehicles (such as cars or trucks) should look carefully for bicyclists before turning left or right, merging into bicycle lanes and opening doors next to moving traffic. Check your mirrors and be aware of blind spots before turning. While at a stop sign or red light, make a complete stop in order to let bikers pass, and check for unseen riders. Respect the right of way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with you. Cyclists are not immune to traffic violations: pay attention to red lights and practice arm signaling!
    Read more
  • Due to heavy traffic during the tourist season longer wait times are possible on most border crossings with Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro.
    Read more
  • All ferries and catamarans are operating according to schedule.
    Read more

Interview of the week

Photo galleries and videos