Danijela Crljen: All of Slano is Benefiting Thanks to our Marina

By 16 August 2017

Owing to the recently constructed ACI marina, the small village of Slano, near Dubrovnik, has seen a positive economic impact.

Reporters of Slobodna Dalmacija have interviewed the director of the newest ACI marina 'Veljko Barbieri' in Slano - Danijela Crljen, published on August 15, 2017.

"The first year has gone better than expected. We are very pleased with the results, the response and the number of boaters coming to our marina, and how the marina has fit into the place. This is an obvious example of how the place is rapidly evolving thanks to the marina," proudly says Danijela Crljen, director of ACI Marina "Veljko Barbieri" in Slano.

ACI marina “Veljko Barbieri” Slano is the newest ( 22nd) ACI marina, named after the founder of the ACI marinas chain. The marina has two breakwaters and six pontoon piers. The value of the investment was HRK 60 million. The marina, which opened in August 2016, celebrated its first birthday on August 3. Although being new, the marina seems as it has always been a part of this small village near Dubrovnik; nested in the bay, it attracts with its beauty, great size, clean minimalist design, and peaceful silence which is only disturbed by the sound of sails swaying in the winds.


Development and success of Slano owes a lot to the marina

Though there were those dissatisfied with the plan of building a marina in Slano, today most of the people of Slano agree that the marina has greatly contributed to the development and popularity of the place, which was heavily devastated by the war. The recovery and renewal of the place began slowly, step-by-step, and today the small village has played a decisive role in the tourist and economic development of this region.

"Everyone is benefiting, from private accommodation to people who have opened up additional facilities for our boaters, from cleaning businesses to transfer agencies," adds Danijela Crljen.

The ACI marina "Veljko Barbieri" can accommodate around 200 vessels up to 20 metres long.It is a smaller marina, but precisely because of this fact it is well-suited to fit in the small village of Slano," says the 36-year-old director, the youngest director of a marina in Croatia.

The marina features an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant that will work even during the winter, nautical equipment shop, repair and maintenance shop, rent-a-car and massage parlour which will be expanded to a small wellness centre next year. There are many plans they believe will soon be realized, such as the construction of new business premises, which already many leasing companies are interested in. The young director is a creative "star" which is guiding a small team of people that are full of enthusiasm and desire to make this small marina one of the best (small) marinas in Croatia.

And it is on its way to become one of the best. As we're sitting on the restaurant terrace and greeting the sailors, who are walking by to their yacht or sailboat, we almost cannot see any empty berths. Those who were sceptical of the construction of the marina in Slano bay have "capitulated", and today acknowledge that it has raised the quality of the offer of the place, as well as the price of the private accommodation, which the renters are pleased about.

“All comments are positive. Half our marine staff are from the Dubrovacko-Primorje municipality, mostly from Slano or a nearby place. They are happy to have a job here, thanks to which they don’t have to move away," says the director, who travels from Split to Dubrovnik every day. She studied and graduated in the United States, founded the family and remained there until, by a happy combination of circumstances, was asked to be the director of ACI marina "Veljko Barbieri".

The marina realized more than 60 percent of the annual vessels in the first year of its existence. "These are the vessels that owners decided to keep here throughout the year, most of which have extended the lease of the berth for the next year because they are satisfied with our service," says Danijela Crljen.


Transferred vessels from Dubrovnik

"Around 20 boaters from Dubrovnik have even transferred their boats from the Dubrovnik marina to Slano," confirms the director. The reason many boat owners decided to make this move is due to the easy access to the open sea, which marina in Slano offers. In order to exit the Dubrovnik marina, it is necessary to cross the entire river Ombla. "It is much easier for guests to transit and use daily berths in marina Slano. In marina Dubrovnik, you lose half an hour just to sail to the bridge. From Slano, you can get to Šipan and Mljet much more quickly," explains the director.

The only thing that has to yet to be worked on is the access road, which last year battles were fought over between the ACI marina and the head of the Dubrovnik-primorje municipality Nikola Knežić. "The project [for the construction of the access road] is, as far as I know, done, and I have information that the permits will soon be done, too. The construction work should begin after summer," the director said.

When asked about the famous people who stayed in Slano on their own or chartered yachts, Danijela Crljen did not reveal anything, respecting the rule of discretion the marina adheres to.



Translated from Slobodna Dalmacija