Dubrovnik to cap the number of cruise ships allowed to dock each day

The historic city is frequently besieged by visitors during the summer

Helen Coffey
Tuesday 02 October 2018 16:34 BST
Dubrovnik's attraction for tourists has been amplified by its GoT connection
Dubrovnik's attraction for tourists has been amplified by its GoT connection

Dubrovnik is capping the number of cruise ships that can dock each day to two, carrying a maximum of 5,000 passengers between them.

The measures will be introduced in 2019 in a bid to reduce the impact of overtourism on Croatia’s walled city, made famous by its appearances on Game of Thrones.

“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,” the mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, told The Dubrovnik Times.

“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.”

Dubrovnik old town’s status as a World Heritage Site has been under threat in recent years; Unesco warned that the overwhelming number of tourists could result in its listing being revoked and advised that no more than 8,000 tourists be in the historic core at any one time.

The coastal city is a popular stop off for cruises – in 2013 it saw more than one million passengers pass through. This year that number will be closer to 800,000.

The mayor has already implemented various strategies to reduce overcrowding. Shortly after being elected in June 2017 he reorganised cruise schedules to stagger departure and arrival times, as well as reducing the number of souvenir stands by 80 per cent and cutting the number of restaurant tables and chairs by 30 per cent.

“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,” said Frankovic at the time. “Although this season we have an increase in the number of passengers on cruise ships by seven per cent, the streets of the historic core have not been blocked for the first time in 10 years.”

He added of the measures: “We are ready to lose some money, but we will have a better quality of life for citizens and tourists.”

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