Thursday, 08 June 2023
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

My five Nostradamus predictions for Dubrovnik tourism

Written by  Apr 16, 2023

“Excuse me, could you please tell us the best and quickest way to walk to the Old City,” asked a small group of tourists all dressed in summer clothes as I stood wrapped up in a warm jacket turning my face from the north wind. Yes, the tourist season has started in the far south of Croatia. towels have been rolled out on the beaches, café bars are spilling out onto the pavements and the roads are getting crowded.

Our joint winter hibernation is over. Are we ready for this season? Are we ever? So, before the real hustle and bustle of summer arrives here are a few predictions that I am going to make. It is no doubt going to be a successful year, so I’m not going to included that on my list. But here are some more, let’s see if they come true.

1) Oh, really that’s how much a coffee costs!

Flipping to the euro has gone relatively smoothly. I personally have forgotten Kuna already. And whilst there is plenty of positive points about the euro in tourism there could also be one negative one that has passed us by. Tourists spending Kuna was very much like spending monopoly money. With all those high denominations they didn’t really convert it back into their own currency. However, as a euro is pretty much the same as a dollar or a pound, not they will see directly how much things cost. “Four euros for a coffee, that isn’t cheap,” I foresee. Whereas “30 Kuna for a coffee, that’s reasonable,” was often the case before.

2) The dark side of Schengen

We are a plane destination. So whilst the border-free European zone will undoubtedly greatly help Istria and Zagreb it could well be painful for us, at least in the beginning. The day-long queues that we have seen in Dover as Brits try to cross the channel into France this Easter could well happen here. The most numerous tourists in Dubrovnik come from the UK and now as all of those passports have to be a) stamped and b) scanned in a computer, it is going to take considerably longer than before. Imagine three planes from the UK landing at once and all those passports need checking. Expect tailbacks and expect headlines like we’ve seen over Easter at the channel.

3) The surge on Srđ

This one is more micro specific. And has already started. Last weekend I drove to the top of Srđ on a work assignment and it was packed. Nothing new there. However, one thing that it did highlight was the traffic jams on the main road. A whole fleet of black vans filled with tourists were in a line waiting to turn left to go up the narrow road to the top of the mountain. The plans for a fast road between the airport and the city are still on the drawing board but the traffic chaos is real. And it is only going to get worse.

4) Pointless comparisons

As I said it is looking like being a very busy year, but we really need another way to measure success. Comparing bodies (or people counting), is pointless, especially as the past few years have been specific. “Tourism increases by 20 percent in Croatia this year in record breaking season,” is a headline I predict. And I am just as guilty as everyone else. Is there a way that we can measure guest satisfaction rather than just counting numbers?

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Don't expect empty streets this year - Photo Mark Thomas 

5) The death of influencers

The days of “influencers” flashing their boobs and bums in micro-bikinis with a destination hidden in the background behind their cleavage are over. It has already died in many other popular destinations. It is, and always has been, a form of self-promotion and not travel promotion. And tourist organisations have started to get wise to it. “I am not going to host any more Instagram “stars” for free, it is a waste of space,” said one hotel director to me. RIP influencers.

There are my five Nostradamus “Les Prophéties” predictions for our upcoming season. And I didn’t mention a few obvious ones, from cruise ships to parking, because, well they are just too easy to predict.

I hope I am wrong. I fear I am not. But the best way to predict the future is to study the past.

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to


About the author
Mark Thomas (aka Englez u Dubrovniku) is the editor of The Dubrovnik Times. He was born and educated in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He works across a whole range of media, from a daily radio show to TV and in print. Thomas is fluent in Croatian and this column is available in Croatia on the website – Dubrovnik Vjesnik


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