Sunday, 11 August 2019

Huge Cruiser Moors Outside of Timetable, Causes Chaos in Dubrovnik

As writes on the 11th of August, 2019, Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković received an official letter from the MSC Cruises executive chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, apologising for a situation which occurred owing to the MSC Sinfonia vessel, which for the first time in two years caused a total halt in pedestrian traffic at Pile gate (western entrance to the Old City).

Pierfrancesco Vago's apology arrived to Mayor Franković after a letter of protest was sent by the mayor of Dubrovnik to CLIA Europe shortly after the unfortunate event.

The chairman of one of the world's largest cruise companies also apologised to the residents of the city for the inconvenience caused by the MSC Sinfonia mooring in the Port of Gruž earlier than envisioned.

This, as Vago says, is the result of unfortunate and unplanned circumstances. "The earlier arrival of the ship to was largely driven by adverse weather at sea, which caused Sinfonia to miss Mykonos (Greece) on the way from Venice and head directly to Dubrovnik," the memo reads.

The MSC chairman also states that, under these circumstances, the arrival of the ship was actually orally authorised by the Port Authority of Dubrovnik two hours before schedule, but that there were lapses in the MSC control mechanisms and that Sinfonia was not allowed to disembark until the regular time of arrival, thereby violating the rules of CLIA, as well as those put in place by the city itself.

"I would like to assure you personally that this event was an exception - caused by external factors and that we have introduced a new level of control without delay that will ensure that all of our arrivals are fully in line with the agreement of CLIA and the city," concludes MSC's chairman, along with the message that their commitment to their agreement with the CLIA and the wishes of the southern Croatian city remains solid.

The City of Dubrovnik recalls that on the 24th of July, 2019, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the City of Dubrovnik signed an Agreement on Cooperation for the Preservation and Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Dubrovnik through Responsible Tourism Management, in order to make the UNESCO city an example of sustainable tourism in the Adriatic sea and beyond.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. If it's just Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia you're interested in, give Total Dubrovnik a follow or check out Dubrovnik in a Page for all you need to know about the Pearl of the Adriatic.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Cruise Ships in Croatia up 10%, Passengers 14% in First 6 Months of 2019

August 8, 2019 - The cruise ship numbers in Croatia keep on growing, reports the Croatian Bureau of Statistics. 

Cruise tourism is booming, and nowhere more so than Croatia, which is reporting a big rise in traffic for the first 6 months of 2019, according to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics

In the first six months of 2019, 272 journeys of foreign vessels on cruise were realised.

In the period from January to June 2019, there were 54 foreign vessels on cruise that arrived in Croatian seaports, which realised 272 journeys. There were 409 thousand passengers on board who stayed for 554 days in Croatia.

The highest number of cruises was realised by vessels under the flags of Malta (72 cruises) and Italy (45 cruises), while the highest number of passengers on board the arrived vessels were under the flags of Italy (108 thousand passengers) and Panama (100 thousand passengers).
Out of a total of 272 journeys of foreign vessels on cruise, the majority was realised in the County of Dubrovnik-Neretva (60.3%) and the County of Split-Dalmatia (25.3%), which makes up the total of 85.6%. The remaining 14.4% of journeys were realised in the following counties: Zadar (5.9%), Istria (4.8%), Primorje-Gorski kotar (2.6%) and Šibenik-Knin (1.1%). 

The most visited seaport was the seaport of Dubrovnik, followed by the seaports of Split and Zadar
The majority of visits of foreign vessels on cruise were realised in the seaport of Dubrovnik (195 visits), followed by the seaports of Split (104 visits) and Zadar (45 visits). 

Increase in the number of journeys, passengers and sojourns of foreign vessels on cruise

In the period from January to June 2019, the number of journeys of foreign vessels on cruise increased by 10.6% and the total number of sojourns by 6.1%, as compared to the same period of 2018. In the aforementioned period of 2019, the number of passengers on board increased by 14.8%, as compared to the same period of 2018.


(Source: Croatian Bureau of Statistics)

The busiest ports. It is interesting to note that Split's expansion in hosting cruise shop tourism continues. It is now at 53% of Dubrovnik's numbers in terms of ships visiting. 

One of the challenges for destinations and cruise tourism in Croatia is that the destinations have little to no control on cruise ship numbers, as this is controlled by the Port Authority. For the Port Authority, more ships means more revenue. 


It is interesting to note that the Ministry of Tourism's 7-year strategic plan from 2013 - 2020 had a focus on maritime ecology at the heart of its strategy. A little like the 30 golf courses promised next year but none yet started, the ecology pledge of 2013 seems to have little to do with the 2019 reality and the expanding cruise ship tourism sector. 



Tuesday, 9 July 2019

18 Percent More Cruise Ships in Croatia than Last Year

In the first five months of 2019, Croatia welcomed 171 or 18 percent more international cruise ships than in the same period last year, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

Furthermore, Croatia also welcomed a 19 percent increase in passengers or 247,500 passengers in the first five months of 2019, reports T.portal on July 8, 2019.

Croatia saw 43 or 3 more cruise ships which traveled to Croatia on round trips than in the first five months of 2018 - and they also stayed longer than last year, for 386 days or a 25.3 percent increase. 

The cruise ships came under the flags of ten countries, though most trips were made under the flag of Malta, which recorded 41 ships and 34,000 passengers traveling to Croatia in the first five months. 

Although in the second place by the number of round trips (36 in the first five months), cruise ships under the Italian flag brought far more passengers, or the most among all the cruise ships, which is a little more than 85,000. 

In third place is the flag of Panama, with 26 round trips and nearly 59,000 passengers.

When looking at months, the highest number of cruise ships on the Croatian Adriatic was recorded in May, when there were a total of 88, which is three trips or 3.5 percent more than in May last year, while the most significant increase of these trips, or 48.5 percent, was achieved in April, when there were 49.

Unlike last year when some months saw cruise ship trips in the minus, this year saw more cruise trips this year than in the same month of the year before.

Namely, January saw five cruise ships travel, which is a 25 percent increase compared to January 2018. February welcomed 11 trips, which is a plus of 22.2 percent, and March, which welcomed 18 cruise trips, is nearly 30 percent better than the same month in 2018. 

As usual, Dubrovnik was the most visited hotspot for cruise ships this year, with 124 visits. Split is in second with 76 of these visits, while Zadar saw 32, Korcula 30, Šibenik 25 and Hvar 20. Less than ten visits were recorded in Rovinj, Ploče, Stari Grad, Pomena and Pula.

But this is anything but good news, for various reasons.

For one, TCN reported last week that the "Transportation and Environment" Association conducted extensive research on air pollution in European destinations in ports which accept cruise ships in 2017, which presented the results of research from Croatia's top destination - Dubrovnik.

The authors of the study showcased the observed pollution levels in Dubrovnik in figures and tables, to make them as clear as possible. In the study, the release of harmful particles of sulfur and nitrogen oxide was compared with that produced by the number of registered vehicles present at cruising destinations.

According to the data, 27,173 vehicles were registered in Dubrovnik at that time. During 2017, in the port of Gruž, forty such of these vessels sailed on round trips, spending a total of 2,791 hours moored, and during that time, 2,523 kilograms of contaminated particles were discharged into Dubrovnik's air.

During that same time, the 27,173 vehicles registered in the Dubrovnik area released 11,561 kilograms of exhaust gases into the air. Translated into basic percentages: 20.1 percent of the air pollution in Dubrovnik comes directly from cruise ships.

When considering the release of harmful compounds such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides, during those 2,791 hours of cruise ships being moored in Gruž, they released a massive 140,259 kilograms of nitrogen oxide into the air, while 27,173 registered vehicles during that same year released 100,174 kilograms of the same harmful compound.

During their stay, cruise ships released 6,344 kilograms of sulfur oxide into Dubrovnik's air, and passenger cars released 331 kilograms of the same compound during that time.

But Dubrovnik isn’t the only polluted cruise ship destination, as Rijeka and Split made the list, too. You can find the full study at Transport & Environment


Some Croatian travel agencies are taking a symbolic stand to protest this cruise ship pollution, like Secret Dalmatia, which you can read more about on TCN.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 20 May 2019

Split Welcomes 60th Cruise Ship this Year, At Least 224 To Go

The fact that we are edging closer to the heart of the tourist season is evident by the number of cruise ships entering Split’s city port. Namely, on Sunday, two cruise ships sailed into Split, both under the Panamanian flag, and both under the cap of MSC Krstarenja. Their Musica and Sinfonia cruisers brought thousands of guests to the city over the weekend, albeit only on a one-day excursion, as they sailed off at 6 pm, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on May 19, 2019. 

The Musica ship can accommodate 2,550 guests, while the Sinfonia carries one hundred more. Apart from the Port Authority of Split, who surely get their share of the profits, Split caterers and sellers of ice cream and souvenirs earned little from the cruise ship guests, though buyers of magnets seemed to make the biggest buzz.

"These are not the guests who spend a lot, they have everything on the ship, and in the city they only create crowds,” commented one Split resident. 

Split will, however, have to get used to these guests. On Sunday, the city welcomed only the 60th cruise ship this year, and by the end of the year, there will be more than 224 arrivals. 

Namely, the Port Authority of Split has announced the arrival of 284 cruise ships on excursions to Split this year alone - and this is still not the final number. Recall, Split welcomed 260 cruise ships last year, and by 2020, some 305 arrivals have been announced.

No stranger to cruise ships, Dubrovnik implemented a new measure that will introduce a daily tax for guests of cruise ship passengers in the amount of one euro per person in 2021, from which the city will be able to turn about 950 thousand euros into cash in just one year. The move will limit the number of cruise ships in Dubrovnik to two daily, so that no more than 5,000 visitors will arrive in the city in any one day. This is the result of intense negotiations between the City of Dubrovnik and the largest cruise companies in the CLIA association, which took place to attempt to solve the problem of up to seven cruisers a day entering Dubrovnik, which would bring up to 10,000 passengers into the city per day.

Should Split look into doing something similar? 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

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