Dubrovnik Cruise Ship Guests to be Transported by Bus to Pile

By 20 September 2019

September 20, 2019 - After limiting the number of cruise ships to two per day, Dubrovnik will introduce a new measure to keep the old town from being overrun by cruise ship tourists.

HRTurizam reports that at the end of last year, Dubrovnik made a step in the right direction when they reduced the overburden of cruise ship tourists to the city center. Namely, in agreement with the cruise companies, they concluded that a maximum of two cruise ships would arrive daily in the most desirable cruise destination in the Mediterranean, which would bring a maximum of 5000 visitors to the old town. 

Thus, from Monday to Sunday, a maximum of two cruisers sail to Dubrovnik per day. This year, the entrance to the city was blocked only once, as a result of the MSC Sinfonia docking in Gruz earlier than foreseen by the established schedule. The MSC responded in a statement, saying that the failure occurred as a result of unfortunate and unplanned circumstances. 

"The most unfavorable weather conditions at sea caused Sinfonia to miss Mykonos from Venice and went directly to Dubrovnik, forcing the ship to arrive early,” emphasized MSC Cruises, using the excuse that this event was an exception caused by external factors.

The City of Dubrovnik recently harmonized the rules for the 2020 season with the shipowners and CLIA representatives, which will include further improvements in the number of guests who visit the old town at the same time, to ensure the highest level of guest service and citizen satisfaction.

One measure is the introduction of cruise ship transportation to Pile and back by low-floor articulated buses. The shuttle service will be operated by JGP Libertas, and will significantly reduce congestion on city roads. According to the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mate Frankovic, the said measures will establish full control and organization of docking cruise ships, all to achieve the highest level of service provided.

Furthermore, at the initiative of the City of Dubrovnik, the Ministry of Tourism introduced a sojourn tax for cruise ships.

Its introduction will be decided by the destinations, i.e., local self-government units, and will be implemented from the beginning of 2021. Thus, Dubrovnik will introduce a sojourn tax per boat from 2021, although the first thought was that a sojourn tax would be charged for each guest on the cruiser.

“We are pleased that, in cooperation with the Association of Cities, we succeeded in inserting in the law the possibility to collect a tax from one-day guests and the Ministry accepted. However, it was agreed that the payment would work per boat, and talking to our CLIA partners, they agreed that it was the best model,” pointed out Mate Frankovic.

The plan to introduce cruise ship fees was presented to the new President of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Adam Goldstein, and his associates at a working meeting in Berlin during the ITB fair in early March. 

"They expressed complete understanding for the introduction of the fee and thanked us for making them aware of the intention promptly. I want to emphasize that CLIA are our true partners in our project 'Respect the City' because they, like us in the city administration, want the best destination experience for their guests, that is, we want satisfied guests regardless of how they arrive, but also satisfied citizens. Only through balance and through cooperation can we achieve this,” said Frankovic.

Finally, Frankovic pointed out that the extra revenue from the cruise ship tax will be spent on improving the city's utility infrastructure. 

"The funds will be used to invest in the maintenance of roads and transport/communal infrastructure to increase the overall utility standard whose development has unfortunately not followed the development of tourism in the last decades, and it is up to this city government to change it."

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