The hottest topic in Dubrovnik tourism was once again under the spotlight yesterday as the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, met with a delegation from the leading cruise ship organisation, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
Dubrovnik has been struggling to cope with the sheer number of cruise ship passengers that disembark through the summer months and in recent years’ various tourism institutions have been engaged to find a solution. Rather controversially the mayor announced last year that the number of tourists allowed inside the historic Old City of Dubrovnik would be limited, this was a step to restrict the chaos of recent years.
This meeting between the largest cruise line organisation and the City of Dubrovnik yesterday was the first of its kind, proving that both sides seem determined to end the cruise ship disorganisation in the city. The lead theme on the agenda was the co-ordination of a more attractive arrivals schedule that would space out the docking of mega cruise ships throughout the week and therefore avoid the frantic weekend crush that has existed for years.
Mayor Frankovic is pushing to succeed where his predecessors have failed, and by bringing CLIA to the table in Dubrovnik and the very least he has started a dialogue.
"I would very much like to thank CLIA as the first leading organization that decided to sit down with a mayor and talk about the problems we face and how to solve them in the future,” commented Frankovic after the meeting.
This year Dubrovnik can expect to receive around 766,000 cruise ship passengers on 484 cruise ships. In 2017 there were 742,000 passengers on 538 ships. But in spite of this slight increase in passengers the mayor is confident that talks with CLIA will show an improvement in the overall organisation.
“We have reached a number of agreements and it is certain that this will be visible this year in the number of guests in the destination. This is not about preventing guests arriving in Dubrovnik, as some have tried to show off maliciously. This is about managing tourism,” added the mayor.
Mayor of Dubrovnik meets with CLIA - Photo Niksa Duper
The Director of Public Administration Affairs CLIA Europe, Nikos Mertzanidis, shared the sentiment and confidence of the mayor, stressing that CLIA understood the problems that Dubrovnik is facing. “I have come to this meeting with representatives of cruise companies who are very keen to share their ideas and we will be in constant communication with the port and mayor to find further solutions to the situation in Dubrovnik," Mertzanidis said.
The crowds and queues outside of the Old City of Dubrovnik, on the Pile Gate, where coaches drop of the passengers is traditionally a hotspot though the summer and causes long delays. The mayor is confident that this situation will be solved this year, “This summer we will manage the destination in a way that will not experience massive congestion, especially at the entrance of Pile. In the future, we will work together with Port Authority so that they can work on alignment with their schedule. In 2018, there are already a dozen “problematic” days, but after this meeting we believe that we will be able to “relax” these days, mainly by reorganising departure and arrival times,” concluded Frankovic.