Hope seems to be floating in the spring sunshine. Maybe it’s just me but there seems to be a wealth of positive news for the city’s ailing tourism industry. And it looks like we’ll have to open a McDonalds or a Starbucks to cater for our guests this year. The Americans are coming, and I mean really coming in large numbers.
This year could end up being a strange one, and could see the most numerous guests in the city coming from roughly 7,254 kilometres away across the Atlantic. The first surprise news with United Airlines planning to fly directly to Dubrovnik from New York was greeted with an audible sigh of relief from hotel directors and restaurants owners.
I even got a message from a hotel director in Zadar who was falling off his chair in excitement at the news and keeping his fingers crossed that Yanks would fill his bedrooms.
Another week and another airline. This time Delta announces that they plan to fly direct across “the pond” to Dubrovnik. It would appear that US flights to Dubrovnik are like Libertas buses, you wait ages for one to turn up and then two come at the same time. And then yet another airline, although this time a “start-up” airline Pragusa announces direct flights from New York and Los Angeles to the pearl of the Adriatic. In other words, US flights to Dubrovnik are more almost regular than buses to Župa!
Let’s just get some context into this, as far as I know, there are zero direct flights from the US to any other Croatian destination. And now we have three airlines with more than two flights daily! If you had any doubts where the absolute jewel in the crown of Croatia’s tourism was this answers all those questions.
I would joke that the Americans are just trying to flee from Trump but as he is now eating his buckets of KFC down in Florida with the other grey brigade that’s not the reason.
And this flight news has managed to completely overload my inbox. “Are your restaurants open?” – “What’s the Covid situation?” – and rather weirdly “How far is Trebinje from Dubrovnik?” I can only guess that that last one was from a New Yorker looking for cheap accommodation over the border.
It seems that your average American traveller is like a caged up animal just bursting to break free and see some new panoramas after being locked down at home for so long. And who can blame them?
Just think if we’d had spent a fraction of the money that the local elections are costing political parties we could probably buy our own fleet of planes and organise flights. Thankfully by the time the Yanks turn up the embarrassingly awful billboard posters of political candidates will have been taken down and throw into the recycling.
I drove from Župa to Orebic the other day and lost count of the gaudy posters at 35, yes, I was trying to count them. Not only are the placards dominated by old men (yes, no balance of the sexes) but they either look like they just woken up from a Bachelor Night or are so airbrushed that they look like a contestant on Love Island. And the slogans, OMG!
It would be difficult to pick out which one is the worst. Most of them look like someone in the party has just Googled “Good Slogan” and copy/pasted the first result. And my Župa has an American twist, or rather a Trump twist, with “Župa in the first position” which sounds oddly similar to Trump’s “America First.”
If all our politicians worked as hard in the last three months of their mandate for the other 4 years we’d be living in Switzerland. It’s that final push to say to voters “Look how busy we’ve been,” we’ve all seen it before and all know exactly what they’re doing but they continue to try and pull the wool over our eyes. I guess some voters will never learn. And to corrupt a Trumpism “Make Dubrovnik Great Again!” could well be our tourism slogan this year thanks to our daily flight service.
If all goes to plan, and we’ve all learned not to plan haven’t we, we could well be in for a return to greatness. Even if I am asked every day when the Brits will start booking. Our eyes have been turned towards the west, not the Wild West, but just as far as the Big Apple. The clouds of doom and gloom are lifting, finally!
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to