Friday, 30 September 2022

Dubrovnik Winter Charter Flights Begin With Arrivals from Across Europe

September the 30th, 2022 - Dubrovnik winter charter flights have begun with guests arriving in the Pearl of the Adriatic from across the rest of Europe.

As Morski writes, Dubrovnik's tourism is still to a large extent reliant on air traffic arrivals despite the finalisation of the Peljesac bridge which scraps the need to cross in and back out of Neum in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As such, Croatia's southernmost city still heavily depends mostly on air connections, that is, on the summer flight schedule.

When the height of the main summer tourist season ends, and particularly by the end of October, traffic to Dubrovnik is 90 percent lower than it is during the summer. However, this year, Dubrovnik Airport will also have work to do in the winter with Dubrovnik winter charter flights. The programme of Dubrovnik winter charter flights has begun, which will bring retirees from all over the rest of Europe.

The first plane of the new Dubrovnik winter charter flights programme landed at the airport in Cilipi recently and the guests, mostly German nationals, couldn't wait to explore the city outside of the often insufferable crowds and scorching heat.

''We wanted to get better acquainted with Croatia, we are staying for two weeks,'' said Anya from Germany.

''It was very good, very pleasant, the flight got here really quickly from Hamburg,'' added Asthrid.

''This is my first time coming here, and I hope I will like it a lot,'' Brighitte noted.

Half of all travellers arriving come from Germany, and they are retirees: guests who spend quite a lot and are usually more than happy to travel outside of the main tourist season.

''The other 50 percent of them come from all European cities. We have people from Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark... 95 percent of the Dubrovnik winter charter flights are sold out, for the first period of 12 months, about 99 percent are sold out. We even have a couple of dates that exceeded the number of seats,'' points out the director of the travel agency, Akkan Mahmut, for Regionalni Dnevnik.

In addition to charter flights, Dubrovnik will be directly connected to Barcelona, ​​London and Istanbul during the winter, in addition to Zagreb.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Tourists Return to Dubrovnik Walls as Post-Pandemic Success Grows

September the 4th, 2022 - Tourists visiting Croatia's tourist Mecca, the southernmost city of Dubrovnik, are making a return to walking the mighty Dubrovnik walls. The first normal tourist season following two coronavirus pandemic-dominated ones has so far yielded excellent results.

As Morski writes, the imposing medieval Dubrovnik walls are one of the most visited tourist attractions in Dalmatia and indeed in all of the Republic of Croatia. After two years of being dogged by the unprecedented global public health crisis, most of the country's tourism results are back to normal. The same can be said for the Dubrovnik walls, as this year the city sold twice as many tickets to those wishing to walk them as they did last year. At the same time, the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities is busy continuing with numerous renovation projects.

There are few tourists who visit Dubrovnik and do not visit and walk the incredibly well-preserved city walls. While there is a marked increase of visitors, there are no off-putting pre-pandemic crowds and congestion that used to be such a common sight. The 1,940-metre long walk can take hours, with many stopping for panoramic images of Dubrovnik and the surrounding area that are otherwise impossible to obtain. As touched on above, during the first eight months of this year, twice as many tickets to walk the Dubrovnik walls were sold as last year. That is 60 percent of the tourist traffic from the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019. In the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities, they aren't really focused on records and numbers but instead on sustainable tourism. That said, they are still very much satisfied with this season so far, not to mention the encouraging financial results.

''Compared to 2019, this year the entrance fee for the Dubrovnik walls was slightly higher, it was 200 kuna, and now it's 250 kuna, so these financial results are greater than the number of tickets sold,'' emphasised Vedran Kosovic, the president of the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities.

The money from the tickets to the Dubrovnik walls is invested in the restoration of the monumental heritage in the area of ​​the former Republic of Dubrovnik - from Orebic all the way down to Konavle, located just before the Montenegrin border. The development of less attractive tourist areas is also being started, and Dubrovnik is having life breathed back into it after two stagnant years.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 8 July 2022

Special Dubrovnik Security Measures in Force Until End of Weekend

July the 8th, 2022 - Special Dubrovnik security measures are coming into force today and well remain in place until the end of this coming weekend owing to an international conference beginning in the Pearl of the Adriatic today.

As Morski writes, the fifteenth annual international Dubrovnik Forum conference will begin today in the City of Dubrovnik, which will last until Saturday. The renowned 73rd Dubrovnik Summer Festival will also begin on Sunday.

On this occasion, the police have asked both residents and visitors of the City of Dubrovnik and the surrounding areas, including Konavle, that from today until Sunday, special Dubrovnik security measures will be in effect in the main city area, which will affect the normal flow of traffic. Traffic is usually slow in Dubrovnik at this time of year anyway owing to increased volumes of people as the main summer tourist season progresses.

People have been informed that from Friday, July the 8th until Monday, July the 11th, there will be temporary traffic jams on the main roads leading from Dubrovnik Airport in Cilipi to the hotel accommodation facilities of foreign delegations that will attend the aforementioned gatherings, as well as in the area of ​​the very core of the UNESCO protected old city, where the wildly popular 73rd Dubrovnik Summer Festival is set to kick off.

The opening ceremony of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival is set for the traditional date of the 10th of July at 21:00 in front of the church of St. Blaise (Sv. Vlaho) with the raising of the Libertas flag to the lyrics of the Hymn to Freedom (Himna slobode). Guests can expect 47 days full of varied programmes that will be enjoyed by Croatian and foreign audiences of all ages.

The police have asked residents and visitors alike for their understanding and patience for the duration of these special Dubrovnik security measures, especially in regard to likely traffic jams, and at the same time have urged them to respect the instructions of police officers out in the field.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Brits and Germans Dominate Dubrovnik-Neretva County Overnight Stays

June the 5th, 2022 - Northern European tourists including Germans and Brits have dominated in terms of the number of Dubrovnik-Neretva County overnight stays so far this year.

The pre-season has been absolutely excellent so far, with tourists coming from far and wide to spend time up and down the country now that the vast majority of European countries, including Croatia, have scrapped their coronavirus-induced epidemiological restrictions following two very stale and toilsome years.

With the very height of the boiling summer tourist season now very rapidly approaching, it seems that the country can finally count on reaching the figures of the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019 and filling its pockets once again. Tourism is by far Croatia's strongest economic branch, accounting for as much as 20 percent of its overall GDP, so floods of tourists and high numbers being recorded within the eVisitor system can't come soon enough for the enfeebled sector.

As Morski writes, when it comes to Dubrovnik-Neretva County overnight stays, foreign guests from European countries such as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Germany, France, and the rest of the Republic of Croatia realised the most overnight stays, with guests from across the pond in the United States also adding to that, local portal eDubrovnik writes.

From the beginning of the year to the end of May 2022, 964,761 Dubrovnik-Neretva County overnight stays were realised. When compared to the same period back in 2021, there were 343 percent more overnight stays achieved, which is very encouraging indeed.

Most overnight stays from January to the end of May were realised by tourists from the rest of of Europe, including neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, Great Britain, Croatia, Germany, and France, followed by guests from the United States of America.

When compared to the record year of 2019, there was an increase in overnight stays from the domestic market and from Ireland, while 77 percent of overnight stays came from the United Kingdom, 67 percent from Germany, 78 percent from France and 62 percent came from further afield in the United States.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Compare the Market: Dubrovnik 2nd as Coastal City Break Destination

June the 1st, 2022 - Compare the Market has ranked the gorgeous City of Dubrovnik as second in the world for those who are seeking a coastal city break with a combination of relaxing on the beach and exploring the sights.

As Morski writes, increasingly sought-after types of holiday are those that combine a beach holiday with swimming and sunshine with exploration of the city's sights and culture. One of the best places to combine a city holiday with a beach holiday is down in Croatia's southernmost city of Dubrovnik, arguably the country's tourist Mecca, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic. It ranks second according to a recent Compare the Market study, just one place behind the wildly popular Dubai.

Looking at other Croatian cities which made the list, Split, the country's second largest city, took twenty-first place, and Pula in Istria took twenty-fourth place.

When it comes to holiday planning, many of us are faced with a choice between a few relaxing days on the beach or a city break filled with sightseeing, culture, gastronomy and shopping. Why not have both? Some of the world's most popular "city break" destinations also boast world-class beaches on their shores, which means you can combine all the sights of the city with a relaxing holiday in the sun. Compare the Market has certainly been correct in identifying Croatia's southernmost city and former stand-alone republic as precisely that.

If you're struggling to choose a coastal city holiday for this summer, the Compare the Market study ranked 35 beach towns and cities from around the world, according to some important features such as the availability of things you can do or sights you can visit in the city, the amount and type of food you can eat, the beaches worth seeing, the overall safety of the city as such, as well as average temperatures. Exploring the City of Dubrovnik at the height of summer is usually not the best idea, although it doesn't seem to put the hoardes off. Temperatures soar to truly dizzying heights, and being baked inside the harsh stone walls of the Old Town increases it even more, making one feel a bit like they're in a pizza oven.

Still, there are plenty of beaches and rocky outcrops from which you can dive into the refreshing Adriatic Sea should you overheat. Here's what Compare the Market had to say about Dubrovnik:

Two cities are tied for second place, and the first is one of the smaller coastal cities: Dubrovnik, in Croatia.
The city is located on the Adriatic Sea and is a major tourist destination, and the city itself is on the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its outstanding medieval architecture and fortified old town.

Dubrovnik was a city of the highest rank not only in the number of things to see and do (with 2,674 activities per 100,000 inhabitants), but also in the availability of restaurants (1,487 per 100,000 people).


For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Tourists Continue to Take Serious Risks for Selfies on Dubrovnik Walls

May the 12th, 2022 - The Dubrovnik walls have always attracted the masses. These mighty, exceptionally preserved Medieval walls shield the old city and have done since the beginning of their construction way back in the 13th century. Unfortunately, they've become the grounds for very dangerous selfie attempts from tourists, including falls and even deaths.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, praise the heights but stick to the ground, goes the old saying. It's something that most people believe should be firmly plastered onto the pages or on the website of each and every tourism guide or website in Croatia. Even if that happened, it wouldn't guarantee that awkward falls from rocks, walls and other locations wouldn't occur, reports local Dubrovnik portal Dubrovacki. The first to go for a tumble are usually, of course, tourists who aren't on familiar terms with Dubrovnik's varying tricky altitudes, as evidenced by two falls of foreigners in less than one week.

The first to feel the unpleasant effects of gravity was a drunk 30-year-old German who fell down from the Revelin wall after a night out drinking, just before dawn. He is believed to have lost his balance, fallen down onto the ground below from a height of 3 metres and injured his head, fortunately without fatal consequences. A young foreigner, who was rescued by Lokrum firefighters a few days later near Golub's cave (Pigeon's cave), also got on the wrong side of gravity. This girl was on a kayak tour, climbed up a cliff and fell awkwardly down onto her back, slamming it painfully against the unforgiving rocks below. Lokrum's firefighters transported her by dinghy to the port, where an ambulance picked her up and took her for treatment to the Dubrovnik General Hospital.

Unfortunately, the stunning green uninhabited oasis of Lokrum which lies a mere 600 metres from Dubrovnik's coastline is a common location for falls and other injuries. The head of the Fire Protection Service, Vlaho Brautovic, pointed out that on the island of Lokrum, due to the large fluctuation of tourists visiting it, injuries happen every single day.

"Last year we opened later on due to the coronavirus pandemic, so there were fewer injuries, but back in 2018 and 2019, almost no day passed without people getting scratches, stings, falling over, some being foreigners, some being locals from the Dubrovnik area. From our side, we make sure that all critical places are properly fenced. However, it should be taken into account that the area of this island spans a huge ​​72 hectares, so falls are always going to happen regardless of our efforts,'' said Brautovic for Dubrovacki.

Apart from the Lokrum Reserve, the imposing Dubrovnik walls are certainly a point of increased risk to safety, health, and life.

''Every summer, we're horrified by seeing of young tourists taking selfies from the edge of the fortress plastered all over portals and social media. But such adventurers are, thankfully, more the exception than the rule,'' said Maro Kapovic, secretary of the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities, which takes care of the Dubrovnik walls.

“All visitors are warned that when they go on a tour of the Dubrovnik walls, they do so at their own risk. In all critical places, our warnings of the dangers that threaten them if they lean over or try to climb are highlighted. We're doing everything we can to prevent injuries and deaths. Night visits to the Dubrovnik walls aren't possible precisely in order to avoid falls and injuries to young people who often walk around drunk in the late hours, like the German who fell from down from Revelin's wall the other day.

Of course there will always be people who want to take pictures at a precarious height or walk along the edge of the walls, that's the law of large numbers, in good years one million and 300 thousand tourists come and walk the Dubrovnik walls, which are longer than 2 kilometres in total, so someone just has to cause an incident. However, it's still a rarity,'' concluded Kapovic.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

24 Hours in Dubrovnik: Good Things Come in Small Packages

26 April 2022 – For a city of just 21 square kilometers, it’s sure packed full of activities and surprises. Come with me as I showcase the best ways to spend 24 hours in Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic!

A (very) brief history of Dubrovnik

Dating back to the 7th century, Dubrovnik was once a town known as Ragusa, founded by refugees from an ancient Greek colony – Epidaurus. Since then, Dubrovnik has changed hands several times, having been part of the Byzantine Empire, the Republic of Venice, the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, and the Kingdom of Dalmatia within the Austrian Empire.

More recently, Dubrovnik became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the Banovina of Croatia upon its creation in 1939. During World War II, it was reincorporated into Croatia as part of Yugoslavia prior to Croatia’s independence in 1995.

Right, with that in mind, let’s begin a full day of activities in Dubrovnik!

9.00 a.m. - 10.00 a.m.

What better way to start your day in this rich, historical city than treating yourself to a lush breakfast with an amazing view. While there are a number of restaurants in Dubrovnik, a personal favorite is the breakfast “Orlando” at Gradska Kavana Arsenal, situated in the heart of Dubrovnik’s Old City.


Located in the very heart of Old Town, overlooking the former medieval shipyard. Image: Management/Tripadvisor screenshot.

Think crispy bacon, eggs, grilled mushrooms, and toast, finished off with a well-made latte (big plus, they have milk alternatives like oat, soy, and almond) to power you through this busy day.


Can't think of a better way to fuel the day. Image: Tripadvisor/Screenshot.

10.00 a.m. - 12.30 p.m.

With your bellies filled and the caffeine flowing through your veins, time to explore Dubrovnik’s Old Town, housed within its famed city walls that date back to the 9th century. You can either choose to join one of the free walking tours (2-2.5 hours), take a game of thrones tour, or as I highly recommend, head off on your own adventure. For those who are a choose-your-own-adventure type, here are some not-to-miss spots.


Famed for its terracotta roofs and stunning architecture, Dubrovnik has been the setting for many international films over the years. Image: Pixabay.

While it’s still early, head to Gndulić Square which hosts the Gunduliceva Poljana Market to pick up souvenirs and treats like small jars of honey, jam, and lavender products before it winds down around noon.


The market is busiest between 8.00 - 11.00 a.m., so get there early! Image: Sab5859/Tripadvisor screenshot.

Criss-cross the famous Pile and Ploce gates located on opposite ends of the city, and flit through the 300-meter-long pedestrian street called Stradun, whilst ticking numerous monuments off your checklist.


Stradun, the main pedestrian vein of Dubrovnik's Old Town. Image: Pixabay.

Visit the landmark Bell Tower that’s a rebuild of the 1444 original, the famed Dubrovnik Cathedral and Onofrio Fountain that’s been providing the city with fresh spring water since 1438. Then there’s the St Ignatius Church at the top of Jesuit Stairs; St. Blaise, a Venetian Baroque-style church; Sponza Palace where great minds of the past discussed literature, science, and art; the Rector’s Palace built in 1435 but has not lost any of its former grandeur; before finishing off this exploration at the Franciscan Church and Monastery.


In the Onofrio fountain, built from 1438 to 1440, each of the sixteen sides has a unique stone-carved design of a masked face. Image: Pixabay.

12.30 p.m. - 1.00 p.m.

All that walking is guaranteed to make you peckish, so head down to Pekara Glavinić and pick up some delicious pastries like the forearm-sized burek, a flakey filo pastry stuffed with cheese and/or meat.


Nothing like a light, flakey, cheesy snack to keep you going. Image: Recipe 24/Screenshot.

Looking for something sweet? Head down to Slasticarna Ana for an assortment of kolači (sweet pastries) such as a slice of apple strudel, krempita, or a delectable cream puff.


Do try to get your hands on a luscious, creamy vanilla slice (krempita) when wandering the Old Town. Image: Recipe 24/Screenshot.

1.00 p.m. - 2.00 p.m.

While locals would grab a yogurt or coffee to wash all that deliciousness down, I suggest seeking out one of the cliff bars that are unique to Dubrovnik. Buža bar is my star pick as one of the original cliff bars, so well hidden that if you blink, you’d probably miss it. While not a fancy place, think worn metal furniture and curt service, the ice-cold drinks and panoramic views more than makeup for it.

So, sit back, enjoy a drink, and watch the cliff divers leap off a rock beside you to the turquoise waters below (not for the faint of heart).

buza_bar_-_tripadvisor_screenshot_1.jpgThe bar has literally been built into the side of the cliff walls. Image: Tripadvisor/Screenshot.

From here, there are two alternatives for afternoon itineraries.


2.00 p.m. - 4.00 p.m.

24-hours in Croatia would not be complete without time on the beach to work on that tan. Banje Beach is just a few minute away from the city, boasting views of the Old Town and Lokrum Island. Alternatively, a 20-minute walk from Old Town will bring you to Sveti Jakov, boasting some of the clearest waters along the Dubrovnik Riviera.


Time for a quick dip in the Adriatic. Image: Pixabay.

4.00 p.m. - 5.30 p.m.

2 minutes from Sveti Jakov beach lies the skeletal remains of Hotel Belvedere. Opening its doors in 1985, this once epitome of luxury even had its own helipad and private marine to welcome the well-heeled. Guests could lounge around the pool, and dine at several of its restaurants before dancing the night away at the hotel’s in-house nightclub. Sadly, during the Homeland War (1991-1995), the hotel was bombed and unlike the Old Town of Dubrovnik, has since been left in ruin.


Go on a slight detour and explore the haunting ruins, scars from a devastating past. Image: Pixabay.


2.00 p.m. - 5.30 p.m.

Without a doubt, Lokrum island is one of the most beautiful spots just a stone’s throw from Dubrovnik. Hop on a ferry (€20 return) that runs every hour from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. from the Dubrovnik harbor, and just 15 minutes later, you’re in a different world. One where peacocks strut around without a care in the world, weaving around the luscious greenery of the island.


Just a short 10/15 minute ferry ride from the Dubrovnik harbour. Image: Pixabay.

While there, try to visit the Botanical Gardens, Royal Fort, and the former Benedictine monastery, or take it easy by lounging on one of the island's many picturesque beaches. Just remember to pack enough food and water as the offerings on the island are quite underwhelming.


Lokrum is known for being a lush, green jewel. Image: Dubrovnik Tourism Board/Facebook screenshot.

5.30 p.m. - 6.30 p.m.

Head back to your accommodation to wash that salt off your skin, recoup, refresh, change into your evening's finest, and get ready for a night out in Dubrovnik.

6.30 p.m. - 8.00 p.m.

Since 1969, visitors have been able to take a short ride aboard the Dubrovnik Cable Car (€22 round-trip) up Mount Srđ that transports you 1350 feet above the Old Town. From the top, you’ll be able to gaze down on the Dalmatian coast and get a bird’s eye view of the terracotta rooftops that are a Dubrovnik icon.

Alternatively, you can also choose to hike up Mount Srđ. Image: Dubrovnik Tourism Board/Facebook screenshot.

While at the top of Mount Srđ, indulge in a bottle of wine or cocktails, paired with a sensational cheese plate whilst watching the sunset at Panorama Restaurant. As you can imagine, this will be a pricey experience but again, the atmosphere and views here are second to none.


Panaroma Bar offers an unparalleled bird's eye view of Dubrovnik and the stunning sunsets. Image: Management/Tripadvisor screenshot.

8.00 p.m. - 10.00 p.m.

Cheeks flushed, bellies half-full, now’s the perfect time to round out the evening with some good, hearty cuisine. There’s only one place for you: Pantarul. Housing a simple, modern, and cozy interior, Pantarul’s food is creative, honest, and absolutely delish. With a seasonal menu, all dishes are prepared using ingredients sourced from the surroundings of Dubrovnik such as the regions of Župa and Konavle. The tender braised ox cheeks and vegetable risotto are the stand-out dishes that I would not hesitate to get again and again.


Expect high-quality seasonal ingredients and creative presentations in a warm, intimate setting. Image: Alajandra G/Tripadvisor screenshot.

At this point, you might want to call it a night but for those night owls looking for more, here are some spots to check out.

10.00 p.m. - the sun comes up

There’s something for everyone when it comes to nightlife in Dubrovnik. For those looking for an intimate setting to sit, chat and relax at the end of this busy day, D’Vino Wine Bar is the perfect place to be.


Do try some of the domestic Croatian wines (e.g. Plavac Mali, Debit, Prošip), you'll be in for a wonderful surprise. Image: Pixabay.

If dancing the night away is your thing, there are several places to choose from. You might want to head down to Culture Club Revelin, built inside a medieval fortress or Lazareti, a club set in an old stone ex-quarantine barracks. If a beach party is more of your thing, check out Banje Beach Club, with its stunning views of Dubrovnik’s Old Town.  For electronic dance music lovers, give Skybar Dubrovnik a go.


Nothing like dancing under the stars with sand between your toes at Banje Beach Club. Image: Pixabay.

8.00 a.m. - 9.00 a.m.

Whether you’ve partied till the sun came up or just looking for a good cup of coffee in the morning, ring in the final hours of this 24-hour whirlwind trip of Dubrovnik at some of these spots.


Some of the best artisan coffees can be found at Cogito Coffee. Image: Kaleb F/Tripadvisor Screenshot.

Cogito Coffee is my top pick, serving quality coffee with beans roasted at their HQ in Zagreb. 

Alternatively, let's finish where we started with a prime spot on the Stradun, Café Festival is where you can sit back, watch the buzz along the street, and reflect on your wonderful time in this marvelous city.

And that's a wrap! A packed 24 hours in Dubrovnik, hoping to show you just a fraction of its uniqueness and beauty.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

520,000 Cruise Ship Passengers in Dubrovnik Expected this Season

April 7, 2022 - Blaž Pezo of the Dubrovnik Port Authority announced 345 ship arrivals and about 520,000 cruise ship passengers in Dubrovnik this season. 

When measures were relaxed in mid-May 2021, the conditions for restarting cruising tourism in the destination were finally met, taking into account the reduced covid-capacity of 60 percent of passengers. The Dubrovnik Port Authority was happy to welcome the tourism market, and as the season progressed, many cruisers came. In the end, the director of the Dubrovnik Port Authority Blaž Pezo said they ended 2021 with traffic above expectations, reports DuList

Last year, he stressed, a solid cruise season was achieved in which they were visited by 139 ships and 110,130 passengers. Given that there were none in 2020, Pezo said that the Port Authority is satisfied with the 2021 result, which is 30 percent of 2019 and is a good base for this season which they expect 70 percent of 2019.

"We are optimistic about the 2022 season. According to current announcements, in 2022, we expect 345 ship arrivals and about 520 thousand passengers, which is fully in line with the plans for sustainable tourism development in the destination. The maximum number of passengers from cruise ships in Dubrovnik throughout 2022 is 4,000 passengers at a time or an average of two ships at berth. The Dubrovnik Port Authority is actively participating in the City of Dubrovnik project ‘Respect the City’, in which we strive to ensure the sustainability of Dubrovnik tourism. As part of the project activities, the Ordinance on conditions and criteria for accepting and allocating berths for cruise ships in sustainable destination development was developed. As a result, an even better schedule of cruise ship arrivals in Dubrovnik was achieved, which will result in a more even flow of passengers from the port, mostly towards the historic core, and thus reduce the intensity of the load on city roads in the direction Gruž - Pile - Gruž," said Blaž Pezo for Dulist.

How does the situation with Ukraine reflect on the announcements for the cruising season, and are specific markets disrupted?

"In recent days, information has appeared in the public that the war in Ukraine has begun to affect cruising tourism. Some cruisers have canceled their visit to Dubrovnik, but the situation is not dramatic. So far, we have only two cancellations due to operational reasons and several changes in the entry schedule into Dubrovnik due to the relaxation of measures in Italy. I would not say that the situation is alarming, but we monitor the situation together. In the announcement for this year, which should be very good after the coronavirus pandemic, we have 345 ships.

Of course, there is a possibility some will cancel, but we hope that will not happen. It is unknown how many passengers the cruisers could bring to Dubrovnik, as the number is changing, but they are currently between 60 and 70 percent full. Given the much more favorable situation with the coronavirus pandemic, we expect that European and American shipping companies will gradually increase their cruiser capacity this season. With the improving situation, the greatest demand, i.e., the most serious number of tickets and passengers on cruises, is expected from the major tourist markets from Great Britain and the USA, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain," concluded Blaž Pezo.

For more, check out our travel section.

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Year of Megayachts in Dubrovnik: More than Ever Expected in 2022

February 27, 2022 - It will be the year of megayachts in Dubrovnik, as more 100-150 meter yachts are expected this summer than ever before. 

This year's first cruiser sailed into the port of Gruž on Thursday. Namely, it was the MS Bolette with Dubrovnik captain Jozo Glavić, carrying about 600 passengers.

This is not the first time Bolette visited Dubrovnik. This cruiser was already on tours that included Dubrovnik, only then its name was Amsterdam, and Holland America owned it. Now, it is owned by the shipping company Fred. Olsen Cruise Line. Captain Jozo Glavić made history when he passed through the Corinth Canal with the largest ship ever, the Braemar cruiser owned by the same company.

Announcements for this year's cruising season were commented on by the director of the Dubrovnik Port, Željko Raguž, and the director of Dubrovnik Port Authority, Blaž Pezo.

"The arrival of the Bolette is the first harbinger of a great season ahead in terms of cruises. We are also looking forward to Viking Sky, Viking Star, Athena, and Arethusa, which will arrive in mid-March, after which sailing will be more frequent, according to the announcements," said Blaž Pezo for Dubrovački Dnevnik.

Raguž pointed out that this is the best year ever for megayacht arrivals, but the same cannot be said for cruisers.

"More megayachts than ever are expected this year, even more than in 2019. We are talking about yachts over 100-150 meters, the announcements are excellent, and we expect to break all previous records," said Raguž.

As for cruisers, he claims, it cannot be compared to 2019 but can with all previous years.

"We are working following the decisions of 'Respect the City', so we will not accumulate that number in the future to be much higher than it will be this year, so we can say that we are almost at full capacity," said Raguž.

Pezo pointed out that last year was a 'solid cruise season' in which we were visited by 139 ships and 110,130 passengers.

"Given that there were none in 2020, we are satisfied with the result in 2021, or 30 percent of 2019, which is a good base for this season in which we plan to expect 70 percent of 2019," said Pezo.

He added that they are optimistic about the 2022 season.

"According to current announcements, in 2022, we expect 343 cruise ship arrivals and about 530 thousand passengers, which is fully in line with plans for sustainable tourism development in the destination. Therefore, the maximum number of passengers on cruises in Dubrovnik throughout 2022 is 4,000 passengers at a time, or an average of two ships at berth," Pezo explained.

Last year, city tours for cruise tourists looked quite different than in the pre-pandemic years. Last year, guests toured the city with strict measures; they could not enter restaurants, souvenir shops, or boutiques. There were pre-arranged spaces where the group could be, organized transportation, and passengers could not contact tourism staff without prior arrangement.

"On cruise ships, all passengers, as well as crew members, are vaccinated. Regarding the testing and application of epidemiological measures, the procedures are standardized in this segment of tourism," Pezo explained.

However, this year should return to the 'old normal' and the extinction of the 'bubble model' of cruising tourism.

"It seems that this is no longer the case as it was with the 'bubble model' and everything should be as it was before the pandemic," Raguž is optimistic.

However, he adds a dose of caution to the good news.

"There may be one decision in May, and then another in July, so it is still questionable. We hope that all these ships will come according to plan. Before the pandemic years, ships would come because there were huge penalties if they were a no-show, and now that’s no longer the case in a pandemic. It is enough to check out seven days in advance so that they are not punished in any way, so we need to take everything with some reserve. But, if last year we had five times fewer ships, and all the announced ones came, then I don't think we will come to that as the situation is much better in Croatia and the world than last year," concludes Raguž.

The Dubrovnik Port Authority is actively participating in the City of Dubrovnik project 'Respect the City', which seeks to ensure the sustainability of Dubrovnik tourism. As part of the project activities, the Ordinance on the conditions and criteria for the acceptance and allocation of berths for cruise ships in sustainable destination development was created.

"I especially emphasize that in 2022, an increase in traffic in the pre-season and post-season and a decrease in traffic in the peak months of the main tourist season, July and August, is expected. In this way, the cruise season has been extended from mid-March to the end of November and extends the tourist season, which I consider extremely important for the destination as a whole," said Pezo.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 31 January 2022

Hunt for Dubrovnik Seasonal Workers Begins, Chefs and Waiters Needed Most

January 31, 2022 - The hunt for Dubrovnik seasonal workers begins, with chefs and waiters most in demand for the 2022 tourist season. 

Hotel houses and caterers in Dubrovnik are looking to fill the missing workforce ahead of the 2022 tourist season, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

The labor market is flooded with tenders, workers are wanted outside Croatia, and no one wants to repeat last year's mistake when employment was delayed due to fear of closing the emitting markets. As a result, some seasonal workers have gone abroad, and some have been recruited in the northern Adriatic. But what are the salaries attracting labor?

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the average salary in Croatia in November 2021 was HRK 7,333. However, the median net income was HRK 6,149, which means that half of the employees had a lower and half a higher income than that amount. Income in the so-called "real sector" in tourism has always been lower than the national average.

"The lowest salaries in tourism are paid to cleaners and kitchen support staff, around HRK 5,000 net per month. The average salary of a waiter in a Dubrovnik hotel is between HRK 6,000 and 7,500," says Dolores Lujić, commissioner of the Croatian Tourism and Hospitality Union. There is no data for restaurants, but given the high demand for waiters, she is convinced they are not lower. Receptionists are in the rank of waiters.

"Coefficients are generally not applied to them. So, for example, cooks and chefs in a top restaurant in Dubrovnik receive HRK 12 thousand or from HRK 15 thousand to 20 thousand," says Lujić.

According to the Croatian Employment Service advertisements, the most sought-after occupations are chefs and waiters. In Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 67 ads were opened for chefs and 52 for waiters in the entire area. Julijo Srgota, head of the Regional Office of the Croatian Employment Service (CES) in Dubrovnik, says that employers do not rest; advertisements arrive daily from the beginning of the year.

According to the Law on Foreigners, for some jobs, employers must obtain a positive opinion from the CES and the so-called "labor market test", and only then submit an application to the Ministry of the Interior for a residence and work permit for a foreign worker. On the other hand, the tourism sector can obtain work permits for workers from third countries without a labor market test, but only for up to 90 days during a calendar year.

In 2021, the CES office in Dubrovnik received 1,887 applications for employment of third-country nationals. In Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the CES issued 286 positive opinions last year, 10 are being processed, and 1,070 work permits have been issued. On the other hand, the institute refused 71 and suspended 361 work permits. The most significant number of requests related to jobs in construction and catering and tourism, such as building worker, cook, waiter, assistant chef, carpenter, bricklayer, valet, reinforcement worker, civil engineer, and facade worker. Since employers are obliged to enclose income data in their request for the opinion of the CES when hiring foreigners, it turns out that the average salary of a worker who came here from third countries to work as a chef is HRK 5506.9, waiter HRK 5462.6, and baker HRK 4631.8, while employers reported an average salary of HRK 4876 for a maid or HRK 4461 gross for a cleaner.

The average salary of employees in the Dubrovnik Tourist Board in 2019 was HRK 7,724 net. 

The County Chamber of Commerce performed a salary analysis in Dubrovnik-Neretva County companies for 2020. According to their data, the average salary in the provision of accommodation and food preparation services is HRK 4971 net, in trade HRK 4743, in transport HRK 6276, and in administrative and support service activities (90% being travel agencies) HRK 5166.

Compared to 2019, the most significant decline in monthly wages was recorded in accommodation services in tourism and food preparation (22 percent), and the smallest in transport, while in construction it increased by five percent and averaged HRK 4552.

"The highest average monthly net salary was paid in the supply of electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning, HRK 6,811. Paradoxically, the lowest average wage in the county is in the field of education, HRK 3,890.

This applies to private institutions and companies, not schools financed from the budget, but it says how we treat this activity. The data are exact, based on the data presented by entrepreneurs in their final financial reports to Fina," says Nikolina Trojić, President of the Chamber.

Commenting that the average income in the Dubrovnik area is lower than the state, Trojić noted that the coronavirus hit a large part of businesses much harder and that many employees depended on government support for job preservation (HRK 4,000).

Through the Dubrovnik Student Center, the student population, in most cases, works in tourism and catering. In 2021, 6878 contracts were signed through the student service. For comparison, in 2020, 4097 contracts were signed through student services, and in 2019, 10,364 contracts.

"Most often, hourly rates for students last year were between 30 and 35 kuna, and the most sought after jobs were waiters, support staff in catering, cleaners, maids, and other hotel housework," says Marko Potrebica, director of the Student Center Dubrovnik.

For more, check out our business section.

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