For years Dubrovnik has been struggling with the problem of overtourism, creating projects, informing guests and negotiating with cruise ship companies. Whether Dubrovnik was a victim of its own success or simply badly organised is up for discussion but the millions of tourists who visited the city every summer caused an infrastructure nightmare. And then came a global pandemic and the city went from not knowing what to do with all the tourists to pleading for more to come.
When the dust settles at the end of the year Dubrovnik will probably see around 20 percent of the tourists that arrived in 2019, maybe even less. Column inches of international publications have been filled for years grouping Dubrovnik with Venice and Barcelona as Mediterranean examples of cities choked by tourism. But now one of the largest news organisations in the world, CNN, has written an article entitled “These destinations were overwhelmed by tourists. Here's how they're doing now,” which features Dubrovnik.
“When Dubrovnik left lockdown in early summer and tourism tentatively restarted, the tourists returning to Dubrovnik were mostly Croatians on staycations. It wasn't until flights started up again in the summer that international visitors began to return. But it wasn't to last -- Covid numbers began to rise again and tourism declined once more,” writes CNN.
And CNN Travel spoke to the Deputy Mayor of Dubrovnik, Jelka Tepšić, who commented that “The UK put us on the red list, and then it went all down again. The airlines just one by one cut the number of flights. Without flights and without the UK market, Dubrovnik has very low tourist figures."
She added that luxury tourism is something the city will continue to focus on going forward.
And one of the leading tour guides in the city, Ivan Vukovic, was also included in the lengthy report and said that “The atmosphere this summer is the atmosphere like in the 90s, when the war was going on, only the grenades were not flying all over our heads."
Adding that “the aim isn't a return to overtourism - it's some kind of 'normal' tourism, if possible."
Check out the full article on CNN Travel here