Next year a maximum of two cruise ships carrying no more than 5,000 passengers in total will be allowed to dock in Dubrovnik in one day.
One of the biggest challenges facing Dubrovnik’s tourism industry has been the cruise industry. The city receives around the same amount of cruise ship passengers as it does regular tourists every year. This year has seen the start of a program to reduce the impact on the city with cruise ships being rescheduled to arrive at differing times of the day, and next year the city is going one step further. The days of ten and more cruise ships in one day carrying upwards of 10,000 passengers is over, from next year only two cruise ships will be allowed to dock in one day with a maximum of 5,000 passengers.
"The contracts with the cruise companies have been signed for next year, so we have a maximum of two cruise ships per day, from Monday to Sunday. Sometimes there will be only one, sometimes two will arrive simultaneously, sometimes one in the morning and one in the afternoon, but we will have a maximum of two a day," commented the mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic.
Frankovic added that a problem to traffic jams still needs to be fund and he is convinced that the liberalization of the taxi market, which saw over 1,000 taxi drivers working in the city this year, is the main reason that the city is often gridlocked.
The reorganisation, or rescheduling, of cruise ship arrivals for this season certainly helped with the overcrowding problem, although the historic Old City, which is of course a magnet for tourists, was often extremely crowded. This latest step for 2019, limiting the number of cruise ships to two a day, takes the reorganisation to another level.
By limiting to two a day, and to a maximum of 5,000 passengers, the mayor is making a clear statement that enough is enough. The city has been surrounded in bad publicity from the international press regarding the problem of overcrowding. From The New York Times in America to the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, the world’s press has linked Dubrovnik’s tourism challenges to the popularity of the Game of Thrones to the hundreds of thousands of cruise passengers that arrive every year. And this is without mentioning the amount of tourists that are lured to Dubrovnik by the towns’ sprawling nightlife, which offers a constellation of casinos, entertainment venues, restaurants and so forth.
UNSECO were even considering to revoke Dubrovnik’s World Heritage listing and advised that a maximum of 8,000 tourists should be allowed in the historic core at any one time. The Mayor and the City of Dubrovnik have now gone one step further than UNESCO and limited that to 5,000.
"The key to the success of each destination is management, and we have made it through contact with the world-leading CLIA group, which brings together all the key cruise travel organizers. We have arranged a better schedule of arrivals and departures for cruise ships, thus significantly improving the flow of guests into the Old City of Dubrovnik. Although this season we have an increase in the number passengers on cruise ships by seven percent the streets of the historic core have not been blocked for the first time in the past ten years,” commented Frankovic.