The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, has spoken out about one of the hottest topics in city, the cruise ship industry. Dubrovnik has been facing the challenges that hundreds of cruise ships and millions of passengers bring with them for the past decade. This year almost 750,000 cruise ship passengers will arrive on 538 mega ships. The drastic level of overcrowding in the summer months is primarily down to the sheer weight of cruise ships. This situation has clearly come to a head for the mayor and speaking to the British newspaper The Telegraph he commented that he would lower the cap of 8,000 visitors to the Old City to 4,000.
The three main entrances into the Old City of Dubrovnik have surveillance cameras installed that work as people counters. This pilot project was started by the former mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, and was aimed at easing the crowds inside the historic UNESCO protected core. Whereas citizens feared that a barrier would stop them entering the city when the “magic number” was reached this isn’t the case. Instead when the cap is reached the coaches that are due to transport cruise ship passengers to the Old City would be asked to wait until the level of the crowds subsided. In reality this could potentially have thousands of cruise ship passengers waiting in sun baked coaches for hours before their turn to visit. “We don’t want to go with the maximum, we want to go lower than that,” commented Frankovic to The Telegraph.
And Frankovic is looking to go even further to limit the crowds “I am not here to make people happy but to make the quality of life better,” he said. “Some of the cruise lines will disagree with what I’m saying but my main goal is to ensure quality for tourists and I cannot do it by keeping the situation as it is.”
This latest move isn’t the first time that the city government have attempted to combat the cruise crush. A plan entitled 2 plus 1 was floated a decade ago that would limit the number of cruise ships allowed to dock. The plan was a maximum of two cruise ships in the Port of Dubrovnik and one in front of the Old City, therefore limiting the number to a maximum of three a day. Although this plan seemed to have the support of the Port of Dubrovnik at the time it was never implanted. Whether the new mayor will be more successful with his plan is a matter of time. He seems however resolute “We will lose money in the next two years - a million Euros maybe by cutting the number of tourists - but in the future we will gain much more. We deserve to be a top quality destination,” he concluded in his interview with the British newspaper.