Last year almost 1 million tourists visited the city walls in Dubrovnik and the associated revenue was 82 million Kunas. In comparison with 2014 around 90,000 tickets more were sold last year and the number of visits will probably skyrocket to 1.1 million in 2016. The City of Dubrovnik gets only half of that profit after VAT deduction. However, it is a positive change because till 2009 the City of Dubrovnik didn't get any profit, reported Jutarnji List.
Since 1969 the city walls have been managed by a small non-profit organization called the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiques (DPDS). It was founded back in 1952 to sensitize broader public on the importance of preservation of Dubrovnik’s cultural and historical heritage.
The entire profit or the large part of it the DPDS invests into restoration and maintenance of the city walls and all the other heritage sites in the Dubrovnik region. However, this non-profit organization turns a profit of almost 100 million Kunas annually on the city walls and is completely independent in decision-making on how to spends all that money. On the other hand, the Plitvice lakes National Park with the UNESCO world heritage status visited 1.2 million tourist last year. The city walls in Dubrovnik have the same UNESCO status but whilst the national park is state owned the city walls of Dubrovnik are city owned but managed by DPDS. According to the data of the Croatian Institute of Public Finance in the terms of gross earnings this organization has bigger budget annually then some mid size cities in Croatia.
With the arrival of the new mayor of Dubrovnik Andro Vlahusic the City and DPDS concluded a new contract in 2009 and it was agreed that the gross earnings from the tickets, after VAT deduction, was to be divided in half between them. At the end of 2014 Vlahusic suggested that the entrance fee should be raised from 100 to 120 Kunas, which was refused by DPDS.
‘’We have done our best in order to prolong the introduction of the new price; however the price of 150 Kunas will be introduced in 2017. There are two reasons for that; the tourist crowds on the city walls have become unbearable, so with the new price we will try to slightly reduce or stop this rapid growth. On the other hand, the prices of all the European sites have already soared, the Parthenon in Athens, the Roman Forum and the Louvre are still more expensive than the Dubrovnik city walls. We suggest that the City of Dubrovnik manages the city walls and that DPDS gets 20 or 30 percent of the profit as much as they spend now. We would like to make this plan together and determine the obligations. The City Council will discuss it and the Ministry of Culture will then decide whether to approve it or not. Otherwise, there are considerable doubts about DPDS’s spending and investing the money, it seems that it is not in accordance with the regulations’’, says Andro Vlahusic, the mayor of Dubrovnik. It should be noted that the previous government had made a decision for the city walls to be returned to the City which was confirmed by the Croatian Parliament but the decision was later refused by the Constitutional Court.