It was predicted by experts. And even though at first glance few actually believed it, it seems the forecast was spot on. “No, I’m sorry, but we are fully booked until the end of September,” was the answer I had received countless times whilst trying to find accommodation on Peljesac for a long weekend. Football might not be coming home, back tourism is coming home to Peljesac.
It took my at least three days of calling, searching, asking friends and trawling the online accommodation providers before Lady Luck shone down on me.
The plan, at least from the early stages, was perfect, watertight. For the first time in my lifetime England were playing in a major football final. The last time we played, and indeed won, was three years before I was born!
When it comes to watching England I always, if possible, prefer to watch the game alone. I just can’t be in a bar or with a large group of people, as everyone transforms into a manager and are constantly shouting advice. And watching with my wife is also hard work as she’ll be asking “Is Beckham still playing?” or “Doesn’t it hurt when the ball hits your head?” So as my wife had already mentioned taking her mother and sisters on a “ladies weekend” I saw a carpe diem moment. This is my chance to watch the final alone!
The planning might have been great from my side, but the result, as we lost the final, didn’t really go to plan. But sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say that the better team won, and my congratulations go to Italy.
Initially I thought that people would be falling over themselves to rent their apartments and villas, how wrong I was. I was in search of a unicorn!
So tourism experts had been banging on about the fact that tourists would be looking for accommodation away from crowded city centres and would more likely book places in nature away from the hustle and bustle, which seemed to make sense. I mean which sane person would go on a cruise! Clearly this is the case on the beautiful peninsular of Peljesac.
However, I also think that there are more factors at play here. Tourists to the peninsular are undoubtedly loyal, they find their piece of heaven and return year after year after year, almost handing down their spot to future generations of the family. Secondly, or rather thirdly, many guests who arrive do so by car and aren’t reliant on the whims and schedules of airlines.
Figures just released by the larger tourist boards of Peljesac show that June saw an incredible 85 percent of guests compared with pre-pandemic 2019! And some smaller destinations are up to the same levels as before Covid. From my experience of trying to find an empty apartment for a long weekend for my ladies I can agree with those figures.
And whilst Peljesac might be leading the way the city is also much, much busier than I had expected. Of course, for the opening of the Summer Festival is was rammed packed, but a few nights before that I was surprised at just how busy it was. Stradun was like the United Nations. With the only nation missing being the British. And with the latest announcement that England is opening up to travel we can expect a strong end to the season.
However, back to Peljesac and my hunt came to an end in a most unexpected and extremely pleasing manner. Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees. A little gem shone in the sea of already booked apartments. And it was free. It is so far off the beaten track that the track is buried. In fact, it is so nice that I want to keep it a secret, yes, I know that’s rather selfish. If the experts were saying get away from the crowds and back to Mother Nature then this wooden cabin slap bang in the middle of nowhere, or behind God’s back, would be the crème de la crème.
The football might not have gone as I wanted but the ladies long weekend was the champion!
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to