Thursday, 04 June 2020

The number of cruise ships and passengers in Dubrovnik might be frustrating during the summer season but it seems that there were less than last year, especially during the height of the summer.

In August, 96 foreign cruise ships arrived in the Croatian Adriatic, 22 percent less than in the same month from last year, which is the sixth consecutive month that the number of cruise ships sailing in the Adriatic has fallen, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

The CBS data also shows that in August 143 thousand passengers arrived on these ships, which is about 27,500, or 16 percent, less than last year.

In the first eight months of this year there were 16.2 percent less cruise ships when compared to the same period from 2016. A total of 431 cruise ships was recorded, which is 87 less than in the same period last year. And consequently the number of cruise ship passengers is down on last year, over the first eight months 610,000 passengers arrived which is 92,000 less than in 2016.

Somewhat unsurprisingly the most popular port for cruise ships is the first eight months was Dubrovnik with 355 out of the total 431 cruise ships docking.

British low-cost airline Jet2 announced a new line between Dubrovnik and Birmingham in its summer flight schedule for 2018. This is a quick reaction to the collapse of a competing British airline carrier Monarch Airlines, which suspended all transit last weekend. It is also the first reaction with taking over some of the lines on which Monarch Airlines flew this year in Croatia – reports Avioradar.

Although Monarch Airlines flew this route three times a week, Jet2 comes with two flights per week each Tuesday and Saturday from May 26th to November 3rd. Earlier this year, when announcing its summer schedule for 2018, Jet2 also added an upgrade on the Dubrovnik-London (Stansted Airport) line, which partly covers for the absence of Monarch Airlines flights for the next year.

Unrelated to the bankruptcy of Monarch Airlines, Jet2 already announced a new Split-Birmingham line, which will fully fill the absence of Monarch Airlines in Split. Also, the Jet2 will considerably extend the flying season from Birmingham to Split for almost two months longer in the pre-season and for a month longer in the post-season than the Monarch, which this year only flew from  June 25th to October 1st.

The Croatian national airline, Croatia Airlines, has released its winter schedule and although it has added new destinations to the capital Zagreb it has once again ignored Dubrovnik.

New destinations, such as Lisbon and Barcelona have been added to the flights from Zagreb, both having two flights a week. However, the national airline hasn’t added any new flights or destinations to their Dubrovnik winter schedule.

Croatia Airlines will operate to only two cities from Dubrovnik through the winter, Zagreb and Frankfurt. With three flights a week to Frankfurt and twenty-two flights a week to Zagreb this represents exactly the same destinations and number of flights as last winter.

Tourists from the UK, Dubrovnik’s biggest target market, will once again be forced land at the Croatian capital before catching a connecting flight to Dubrovnik. And with Dubrovnik desperately trying to attract tourists throughout the colder months this move from Croatia Airlines is far from supportive.

Winter is coming! If you were under any illusion that Dubrovnik was still on summer time then this photo will change your mind. Gale force northerly winds and a massive drop in temperature in the region over the past few days has brought snow to hills overlooking Dubrovnik. This photo was taken by Bozidar Jukic from Insider Holidays yesterday. 

During the winter months these hills are normally covered with powdery white snow but to see snow at the beginning of October is very unusual. Snow covered mountains in the east of Bosnia and Herzegovina a very short distance as the crow flies from Dubrovnik clearly means that winter is coming.

Just a few days ago the beaches were full of sunbathers and swimmers but as we move from summer to winter (autumn has gone missing this year) we can expect skiers on the slopes soon.

Two million passengers through the Dubrovnik Airport, a million tickets sold for the Dubrovnik City walls and now news that the region of Zupa has recorded more than half a million overnight stays for the first time since the Homeland War.

“We are extremely satisfied with the results achieved this year, we had planned for 460,000 overnights stays in Zupa this year and we have already reached 495,000,” commented the director of the Zupa Tourist Board Ivo Handabak.

Zupa, located just south of Dubrovnik, is still feeling the effects of the Homeland War with the two largest hotel resorts, Hotel Plat and Kupari, still to this day out of function. However, a massive growth in the number of private villas, apartments and rooms has meant that the region continues to grow and attract more foreign tourists. The indicators for October are also encouraging with a number of congresses due to be held in the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera.

“It will be a very pleasing season for Zupa in spite of the fact that Hotel Plat isn’t open and this resort has in the past achieved around 75,000 overnight stays,” added Handabak.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera in Zupa 

The largest number of guests to Zupa, in terms of nationality, have been from Great Britain. In fact, almost a third of all tourists, 31 percent in total in the first nine months of 2017, have been from the UK. This is largely due to the opening of the brand name hotel, Sheraton, in Zupa but also the increase of high quality private accommodation available on platforms such as Airbnb in Zupa.

The Zupa Tourist Board expects around 35,000 overnight stays in October and a further 15,000 in November taking the figure over half a million for the first time in twenty-five years. Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera will be open throughout the winter months and with the Christmas and New Year celebrations expected to attract even more guests the year could be even more successful. Last year the region achieved 497,000 overnight stays.

It would appear from his social media accounts that Irish heartthrob Pierce Brosnan is having a ball on the Croatian island of Vis during filming of the new blockbuster Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. Brosnan (64) and his wife, Keely Shaye Smith, have been spending time together on the island and published this romantic photo with the comment “Home ward bound with a Croatian Harvest Moon low above our heads and rising.”

In 1994, Brosnan met American journalist Keely Shaye Smith in Mexico. They were married in 2001 at Ballintubber Abbey in County Mayo, Ireland. They have two sons together, Dylan and Paris.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! is a romantic comedy musical film directed and written by Ol Parker. It is based on the musical of same name and a sequel to 2008 film Mamma Mia! The film stars Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Meryl Streep, Lily James, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Jeremy Irvine. It is scheduled to be released on July 20, 2018, 10 years after the original, by Universal Pictures.

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View from Brosnan's hotel on Vis and getting romantic on the Adriatic 


One of the most controversial topics in Dubrovnik is again the focus of attention. After the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, met with representatives of the Cruise Lines Association (CLIA) back in September the Executive Director, Cindy D’Aoust, has sent an official letter to the mayor.

The director of CLIA, on behalf of the cruise industry, thanked Mayor Franković for introducing them to the opportunities and challenges associated with cruise tourism in the Dubrovnik region. "As we have pointed out at the time, our goal is to work closely with local communities to protect these environments while providing superior service to our guests," commented D'Aoust. Adding that a large number of shipping companies have been struggling with the consequences that natural disasters in the Caribbean and the United States have had on their business.

"Our commitment to finding a solution for Dubrovnik remains constant," D'Aoust said. Noting that CLIA is working on the selection of experts who will work alongside leaders of the Dubrovnik tourism project "Respect the City" to find solutions that would be applicable for the next tourist season and the achievement of full control and organization of cruise ships by 2019.

In his reply, Mayor Franković thanked the presidents and directors of CLIA for the expressed understanding of the challenges Dubrovnik is facing and for the readiness of the whole industry of cruise ships to achieve a common goal - preserving Dubrovnik’s unique heritage. While at the same time raising the quality of the overall tourist destination and guest satisfaction.

Next week works on the Batala Municipal Harbor will continue. The last berth will arrive from Sibenik, and depending on the weather conditions, should be installed and the new municipal marina completed.

The planned completion of all works is scheduled for next week by the 20th of October.

Today, the 8th of October, is a national public holiday Croatian Independence Day. It marks a decision made by the Croatian parliament on the 8th of October 1991 to end relations from Yugoslavia and to terminate legal and state ties with the country. Independence Day was made an official public holiday in 2001 and was celebrated for the first time in 2002.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović congratulated citizens with this message.

“To all Croatians and Croatian citizens in the Homeland and throughout the world, sincere congratulations on Independence Day of the Republic of Croatia. Among the momentous dates in our history, the 8th of October is cherished as the day when the final and irrevocable decision on the independence of the Republic of Croatia became effective. This historical goal was achieved after long centuries of fighting for survival and freedom. Therefore, with gratitude today we recall all those throughout history whose sacrifice in labour and lives contributed to the achievement of this aim. Today, as an independent state which is a full-fledged member of the international community and the European Union, we have all the formal preconditions for our nation and society to develop freely and be affirmed in the world. But the real force of our state lies within us, in our community and self-confidence, in our youth and our faith in the future. I am confident that we will reach all the developmental goals we are striving for. I believe in the future of our independent Croatia.”

What a difference a week makes. Just last week the beaches of the Dubrovnik region were full of sunbathers and swimmers and this weekend tourists are huddling under blankets and overhead heaters.

The temperatures dropped almost overnight as gale force winds and rain hit last evening. From the balmy mid-twenties today Dubrovnik awoke to a fresh northerly wind and temperatures of around 16 degrees.

In the sunshine it may be warm but in the shade tourists warmed themselves with a blanket whilst enjoying a coffee on the Stradun.

Check out our photo gallery by Tonci Plazibat

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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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