The weekend in Dubrovnik started with clear blue skies and splashes of sunshine with temperatures reaching a “balmy” 14 degrees.
And the locals and handful of tourists too advantage of the pleasant weather to enjoy the historic Old City of Dubrovnik. Al fresco coffees, walking with the family and soaking up the sights seemed like the best way to spend Saturday in the city.
Check out our photo gallery by Niksa Duper
Year on year the historic Old City of Dubrovnik is becoming less of a city and more of a giant ancient hotel. Every cobbled side street has its own “Apartments” sign hanging above the door as the locals move out for the summer months and rent to the waiting tourists. Renting apartments through the popular websites, such as AirBnb and Booking.com, has become an easy way for families to live and in the height of the season they can earn more than the average annual salary.
Just surf the internet and you’ll be greeted with thousands of apartment and villas in and around Dubrovnik, with prices ranging from 50 Euros a night to a whopping 15,000 Euros. From small, cupboard-sized rooms, to luxurious villas with private butlers and swimming pools, every shape and size of private accommodation is on offer.
And the demand is growing and growing. Bookings for this year are already in full swing with many apartments in the Old City already fully booked during June, July and August. And with the average price of a one-bed apartment in the heart of the Old City renting for just under 150 Euros a night it isn’t difficult to see why this business is so attractive. With only around 750 people actually calling the Old City of Dubrovnik home the number of apartments and therefore the number of guests far outweigh the inhabitants.
However, it isn’t all plain sailing. Actually purchasing and refurbishing any building inside the city walls need the nerves (and the finances) and patience of a saint. “Reconstructing a building inside the Old City is extremely challenging. Firstly, you have to satisfy the requirements of the Conservation Department and then you must use a licensed builder to carry out the works. There are only seven or eight firms that have this license and of course they are constantly busy,” explained a private investor who has apartments in the Old City. And the cost of building and adapting apartments inside the historic centre is considerably more expensive than any other suburb of the city. “If the building is devastated and requires reconstruction from the ground up then prices start at around 1,000 Euros per metre squared, if the space just needs a fresh look then prices start at around 300 Euros,” concluded the investor. Adding that if an investor takes a mortgage to buy the property and then a loan to finish the apartment it will be impossible to see a profit for at least twenty years.
The average price of an apartment in the winter in Dubrovnik is 50 Euros whilst in the summer months the same apartment will cost you 150 Euros. And renters who go that extra mile to attract guests can expect to have 200 nights a year.
There are around 452 apartments inside the city walls, and in the wider Dubrovnik area a staggering 3,326 renters. “In 2016 there were 1,956 beds inside the Old City and in 2017 that number rose to 2,169,” commented Božo Burić, the head of Private Accommodation for the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. Adding that the vast majority of apartments were ranked as three-star, with 60 percent of apartments in the Old City having three stars.
From April to November these apartments record an 80 percent booking capacity. And one of the keys to achieving this is the feedback from clients, according to Nino Dubretić, the co-owner of the Dubrovnik travel and booking specialists, Direct Booker.
Are there any indicators that this trend will come to an end, will reach a saturation point? Looking at the indicators for the future the answer is no, at least for the next few years. With more interest, more publicity and more flights coming year after year the demand for accommodation will remain at these levels for the foreseeable future.
After becoming popular in Croatia, Borovo’s ‘’Zenge’’ yellow boots are to be shipped to other parts of the world.
The ‘’Zenge’’ yellow boots became popular during the Homeland War in 1990s when Croatian soldiers wore them while defending the city of Vukovar.
In November last year, they were brought back to the big scene when the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović wore them during a procession on Vukovar Remembrance Day.
‘’After our President wore ‘’Zenge’’ and the media highlighted them in their reports, it stirred a lot of interest of customers from all over Croatia as well as from Diaspora. We had inquiries from the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany etc. Thus, we decided to make another limited series of ‘’Zenge’’ boots but this time not only for men but also for women’’, explained Marija Rušnov, a marketing associate from Borovo.
The latest series of the ‘’yellow boots’’ is identical to that manufactured in the pre-war period. They are of yellow colour and handmade from hydrophobic leather, which makes them waterproof.
During the manufacturing process, each pair goes through the hands of 60 workers at Borovo making them even more special. The only thing that differs the new series from the former ‘’Zenge’’ is the stronger imprint of Vukovar Water Tower on the lower side of the boot.
Borovo d.d. is the most famous shoe manufacturer in Croatia with the longest tradition, heritage and love for shoes. The company was founded in 1931 with its headquarters in Vukovar.
The production of the popular yellow boots began in 1985, following the order of the American company Royce Shoes. They were intended for desert-mountainous areas with extremely high daily air temperatures, and freezing cold air temperatures at night.
Borovo used to manufacture 200,000 to 250,000 pairs of ‘’Zenge’’ boots for Royce Shoes. However, the latest manufactured series was not shipped to the American buyer due to the Homeland War, thus remained in the Borovo warehouses.
Nevertheless, Borovo is planning to continue the manufacture of the popular ‘’yellow boots 85’’ in the near future.
It isn’t only the magnificent stone city walls that encompass the historic Old City, or the medieval facades that have attracted international film productions, such as Game of Thrones, to Dubrovnik. It is also the unique atmosphere of the city.
This charming video was sent to us by the talented camera man Marc Moliné from Barcelona and was filmed last year in the city. It gives an insight into the musical soul of Dubrovnik, and we particular enjoyed the dancing tourists near the end of the video. We think you’ll agree that it looks like a scene from Game of Thrones.
Check out this new Dubrovnik music video
According to the latest data from the eVisitor system, the results of the tourist traffic in December 2017 proved an excellent tourist season in the Split-Dalmatia County.
The data shows that only in December this Croatian county recorded 24,124 arrivals (+8%) and 68,819 overnight stays (+8%) in comparison to December 2016.
Therefore, Central Dalmatia continued with a strong tourist traffic increase even in December, positioning itself as a tourist region for a year-round tourism.
The city of Split surely contributed greatly to these excellent results, which had 11,426 arrivals and 29,240 overnight stays (+16%). Good traffic turnover in December was also recorded in Seget, Podstrana, Dugopolje, Makarska, Supetar and Hvar. The most numerous guests in December were from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Korea, the US, Slovenia, Italy, Germany and China.
The Split-Dalmatia County concluded the last tourist year with 16,944,182 overnight stays (+12%) and 3,200,123 (+17%) arrivals plus 211,401 of boaters’ arrivals and 1,442,869 overnight stays in the nautical segment realized in the county.
In addition, at the annual level, guests from Poland and Germany, followed by guests from the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sweden, Norway, Slovenia and France, realized the highest number of overnight stays in 2017.
The Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, said that the construction project of the Peljesac Bridge is moving forward and he hoped that a Croatian company can get involved with the project.
Croatian Roads announced yesterday that the Chinese consortium, China Road and Bridge Corporation, will conduct the first phase of the construction of the Peljesac Bridge with access roads, and that the European Commission will finance 85 percent of the project.
Of the three bids submitted for tender of the public procurement contract, the China Road and Bridge Corporation, with a bid of 2.08 billion Kuna were selected as the most attractive and they will have a deadline of 36 months to complete their works.
"This project is moving forward to the satisfaction of all the citizens, especially those in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, because with the realization of the Peljesac Bridge the county will be connected with the rest of the country,” added the Minister.
The Peljesac Bridge was declared a project of exceptional strategic importance for the country, the total value of the project is 526 million Euro, of which the EU will finance 85 percent. The decision to co-finance the largest Croatian project ever was made by the European Commission in June 2017. The bridge construction will last three years.
The public tender for the second phase of the project, the construction of roads through the Peljesac peninsular, totalling 400 million Kuna, will be announced at the end of February, said Minister Butković. The construction of the bridge, 2.4 kilometres long and 55 meters high, should last 36 months from the start of the works, with the bridge having four traffic lanes.
An American YouTube channel recently released an interesting video about Croatia.
The ten-minute video released by World Top 10 selected and highlighted the ten most beautiful places in Croatia. They listed the city of Dubrovnik, the Plitvice Lakes National Park, the Zagorje Region, the coastal town of Makarska, the Mljet National Park, the city of Split, the Pelješac Peninsula, the town of Rovinj, the Croatian capital of Zagreb and the Kornati Islands.
In case you have never visited Croatia, we advise you to check this great video. We are more than sure that you will fall in love with Croatia and put it on your ‘’must visit’’ list for this year.
As from this year, the Croatian tourist offer will be enriched with a new and interesting tourist product.
Running is very popular all around the world, especially in Europe, which currently has more than 50 million runners and this number is constantly increasing. These people are not professionals but amateurs who run marathons and half marathons, and are often business people who generate over 9 billion Euros of revenue each year to hotels, carriers and race organizers, excluding their spending on gastronomy, sports equipment, souvenirs etc.
Taking into account this fact, four passionate runners from Croatia, Tamara Markotić, Hrvoje Horvat, Ivan Videk and Sandra Bortek, joined their forces and decided to turn their lifestyle into a great tourist product – SightRun.
SightRun is a mobile application, which helps runners who travel on business to do their training and get to know the destination they are at. The application has audio running tours that combine running with tourist sightseeing thus enables runners to enjoy running and discover a new city at the same time.
‘’The lack of time at the destination was the main impetus for the development of this start up’’, emphasized Sandra Bortek, the founder of the SightRun start up company, adding that the application works with a GPS mobile device. Thus, in case a person is not in the mood for running, he/she can always ‘’go for a walk’’ with the SightRun app using it as a virtual guide and discover a part of the city.
This innovative tourist product and the first of its kind in Croatia is available in Croatian and English as well as on Android and iOS platforms.