We caught up with the Director of the Korčula Tourist Board, Milijana Borojević, this month and she shed some light on the timeless appeal of Korčula as a sought-after destination. From its cultural treasures and pristine nature to culinary excellence, she discusses the island's unique draws. Discover the tourism patterns, upcoming attractions, and the heart-warming feedback that paints a vivid picture of why Korčula remains a cherished haven for travellers.
What do you think it is that entices so many tourists to Korčula year after year? What are the attractions?
Well there are of course many reasons why tourists choose Korčula as their holiday destination year after year. Firstly, the magnificence of the cultural and natural heritage when you think about the island as a whole. When talking about the City of Korčula the complete atmosphere of this perfectly preserved Adriatic gem from the middle ages is of course a draw for guests. Just seeing their faces as they see the City for the first time would answer all your questions. The pristine nature of the island fascinates guests, from the beautiful sandy beaches, the thick forests and the tradition of family-run businesses that specialise in wine, olive and other fruit and vegetable production.
A great deal of people actually visit Korčula out of the main summer season to visit wine tasting and other such events. On the island the two most well-known native grape varieties are Grk from Lumbarda and Pošip from Čara and Smokvica. The whole wine scene is very dynamic on the island; I also need to mention the grape variety Cetinka from Blato. We can say that both the production of high-quality wines and olive oils has been a spark that has ignited the whole culinary scene in Korčula. Many people who visit Korčula out of the main season enjoy a tasting of various island products, mainly wine, olive oil but also honey and, lately gin. Both during the off-season and the main season, the guests enjoy numerous cultural, eno-gastro and sporting events.
For example, just inside the Old City of Korčula we have a two restaurants with a Michelin star, and another with the Green Michelin recommendation in the village of Pupnat.
How busy has Korčula been this year? Are the tourist figures up on last year?
The tourist figures are around those of last year, in the pre-season we had more guests when compared to 2022. We expect that by the end of the year our figures will be around the same or a little better than last year. As far as the nationality of our guests is concerned American tourists are currently the most numerous. And then the rest of the top four is made up of guests from the United Kingdom, Germany and France. We are also seeing a lot of guests from Australia this year. And in the pre-season this year we had many guests from the Far East.
What would you say the breakdown of tourists to Korčula is? Are these day-trippers or tourists staying for a longer period of time?
The vast majority of tourists who come to the south of Croatia do so by plane, and a great deal of these guests like to island-hop taking advantage of the wonderful islands that we have along the Croatian coast. There are many tourists who fly into Dubrovnik and then island-hop all the way to Split before flying home from Split. In Korčula we therefore see many one-night stays compared to other parts of the island. The actual season starts a little earlier inside the City core and lasts longer, until the end of October.
Are there any new developments on Korčula for this year or for the near future?
We are actually coming to the end, or maybe I should say just at the beginning of a new project that is extremely interesting and will certainly prove a major attraction for both guests and locals. We are planning, although these dates might change, to open a “Camino hiking” trail around the whole island in November this year. The trail will be around 140 kilometres in length and mostly on the coastline. The trail will start at the St. Mark's Cathedral in the heart of the Old City of Korčula and head towards Lumbarda heading around the southern side of the island. The trail will cover almost all of the coastal settlements, from the northern side to the southern side, on Korčula. It has taken a lot of planning and once finished we hope that it will be a major attraction for walkers, of course mostly out of the main summer season when the weather is cooler.
Korčula island is known for various sporting events happening during the whole year: triathlon, swimming competitions, and whaterpolo tournaments, just to name a few.
What kind of feedback do you receive from tourists?
Yes, whenever I can I work directly with tourists in our new tourist information centre. And I have to say that generally tourists really love Korčula. They are always quick to comment on the beautiful beaches, the stunning architecture, the nature and the friendliness of the people they meet. They often say that they don't feel like tourists, but more like part of the wider family. In my opinion that is the most important factor, that guests feel at home. And this is shown in the fact that year after year the same guests come back to the island and often stay in the same accommodation. They feel welcome.
How do you as a tourist board promote Korčula?
Well, firstly the vast majority of our promotion is held outside of the main tourist season. This is the time that we attended exhibitions, travel fairs and shows. Due to our size we make our promotions in co-operation with the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board. And I have to say that we are lucky to have really good co-operation with the County.