Category Archives: Croatia

The impact of the refugee crisis on the state of Croatian Tourism industry sector by Srđ Portolan

Srđ Portolan gives us his account on the current Syrian refugee crisis and the plight of refugees from Irak and Afganistan. Srđ has twofold opinion on the current crisis. In Portolan’s view current recovery of the Croatian economy can hardly sustain the financial help which Croatia has offered to the passing refugees. Furthermore, Srđ Portolan stresses out that the Croats have a big heart and have shown an impressive deal of empathy towards the refugees. Srđ has also expressed his concern about the final destination of the river of refugees: Germany. Portolan has posed an interesting question; Would the arrival of refugees put a burden on the German economy and would Germans keep returning to Croatia for their holidays or would they opt out for cheaper destinations within Spain?

Srđ Portolan believes it, all be it well, that the strongest market of them all is not in the slightest affected by the refugee crisis, that of the UK and he has shared a great deal of optimism that the current redevelopment of both Zagreb and Dubrovnik airports will contribute to the higher influx of American tourists. What Srđ sees as a potential crisis are not Syrian refugees but the potential competition war between Istria and Dubrovnik region. Istria does have 18 hole golf course which is imperative attraction for American tourists while Dubrovnik is impatiently waiting for the realization of Dubrovnik Srđ golf project. Rovinj, a picturesque Istrian town has branded itself like a must visit snapshot destination within Croatia while Dubrovnik had a great strike of luck thanks to the HBO’s The Game of Thrones serial.

As one can well perceive, Srđ Portolan, concludes it is not the impact of the refugee crisis that will influence the state of Croatian tourism, but the actual offer of the destinations within Croatia where Dubrovnik is showing sluggish improvements in the terms of the quality what it has to offer.

The luxury round up of 2014 in Dubrovnik and Croatia

2014 has been yet another successful year in the Croatian tourism industry and once again the Croatian tourism has been a shining star of the Croatian economy. Dubrovnik has performed rather well thanks to the influx of tourists from Great Britain and the Far East, in particular from South Korea. Apart from the fact that Dubrovnik is on everyone’s must see list because of its astounding beauty, it is amazing to learn the fact that the filming of Game of Thrones in the city is also to”blame” for the increase in popularity of this unique city.Game of Thrones film location

As for the luxury segment of the market the new trends contributed to this sector’s good performance, particularly villa rentals. I am extremely glad that this trend is rising and more and more quality villas both in design and decor are being built. This trend has complemented the increase in yacht charters and exclusive private excursions.

The Russian political crisis has partly this season affected Dubrovnik and Istria’s luxury markets but not to the extent of 2013 when some of the Istrian top luxury hotels were half empty during the peak season. Also, Croatia’s joining the EU has to my disappointment shut its door to the Turkish market due to the visa regime. Well, I have also heard this silly unbelievable story that if you are from Dubai and you are willing to come to this beautiful country of ours that you need to apply for your visa in Cairo, Egypt as Croatia does not have a consulate in Dubai.

However, I would like to end this post on the positive note and as I write these sentences, boreas is blowing the sunny streets of Dubrovnik and I am getting warmed up for the celebration of the stradun dubrovniknew 2015 in the most stunning open stage in the whole of the world; Stradun.

Forget Times Square, Trafalgar Square,Red Square, come to Stradun and shout Celebrations after all Let’s celebrate and have a good time!!!

The author of this article is Srđ Portolan, a founding member of Intercon Group of Companies, a board director at Spes Real Estate and Dubrovnik Luxury Travel.

Villa Sheherezade – the Taj Mahal of the Mediterranean

I cannot count the number of times when my British friends visiting from London would ask me, Oh what is that blue thingy building over there. And I would proudly answer to them that that is Croatian Taj Villa SheherezadeMahal. There is something romantic about the fact that a foreign wealthy industrialist of unknown Eastern or at least Centrally European roots decided to built this imposing villa for his mistress, supposedly exotic dancer who went under the name of Sheherezade, back in the late 20’s.

The truth about this soppy romantic story will be sealed forever and would stay Prague’s best kept secret. ( Oh dear I just revealed his origin ) as for the fact that the poor mistress never trespassed the villa’s threshold.

Interior designed is impeccable, its furnishings are rich in textureVilla Sheherezade and colour and I am glad that this has worked perfectly well for this villa and its five luxury bedrooms. However, the point that I would like to make, if I worked 24/7 in a high flyers position for bank,blue chip company or government I would opt out for this villa because of its exterior. It has 4000m2 of pine forest, cypress trees and palms, excellent for devising Villa Sheherezadetakeovers, foreign policies or new business strategies, if you catch my drift, during early morning and early evening walks.

Some people would argue that it does not have fine sand beach but amazingly this villa has a swimming pool inbuilt in the terrace yet close enough to smell the Adriatic. After all, this place has a pier that can get you to your yacht in no time. And it is so secluded that is ideal for all those seeking privacy. Yes it is indeed glamorous but do not let this be off putting so grab your phone and call Darijan or Kristian, experts from Dubrovnik Luxury Travel to get the best available quote for summer 2015.

In the meantime guess what I’ll be doing. Watching “Play it again Sam” in Villa Sheherezade media room right under the blue dome. I Villa Sheherezadeonly wish!!!

Advice on where to book your hotel in Dubrovnik: Old Town vs Lapad

Holidaymakers are starting to gather their ideas which destination to choose for the forthcoming 2015 holiday season. Croatia is continuing to rise in its popularity and Dubrovnik is a must see destination on holidaymakers’ lists. Looking at the hotel accommodation Dubrovnik is growing in its luxury accommodation segment offer. In my view in order to taste Dubrovnik in its most “organic” way then Adriatic Luxury Hotels is your best bet for the simple fact that both hotels Excelsior and GHV Argentina offers

Hotel Argentina
GHV Argentina

spectacular views over the Old City and the island of Lokrum. Many would go automatically for Excelsior,personally I would prefer Argentina because in my view it is more cosier. Both hotels are situated in Ploce area of Dubrovnik and are a pleasant walk to the Old City where all activity during the summer season takes place. You will not regret if you even pay a bit extra but then again if you are an early bird you are bound to find a really good bargain.

One thing you ought to bear in mind is that Dubrovnik is a small city and that the public bus service works well. On the other hand Dubrovnik Palace is situated in a very secluded spot of Lapad

Dubrovnik Palace
Dubrovnik Palace

peninsula. What is more bus no 4 will get you in less than 15 minutes to Pile Gate. Uvala Lapad promenade is just a 15 minutes stroll where all the restaurants and bars are situated. So if you book Dubrovnik Palace what you get are the best of the both worlds. You came to Dubrovnik to visit Old City, you are staying in a five star hotel that is positioned in the best part of Lapad peninsula. You will get a better bargain than at Excelsior or Argentina and you still profit from the spectacular views of St Andrews lighthouse and Elaphiti islands.

The author of this article is Srdj Portolan, a founding member of Intercon Group of Companies, a board director at Spes Real Estate and Dubrovnik Luxury Travel.

How to book an apartment in Dubrovnik Old City?

If you are decided to book an apartment inside the city walls then dubrovnik old city mapyou have decided to be the part of the local experience although you have to bear in mind that out of 4000 citizens who lived in the Old City before the war, there are only 1000 remaining. This means that your neighbor might easily be a fellow tourist like yourself. First and foremost it’s the timing of your holiday. The most ideal timing for families is the end of May because  the school holidays have started, the Old City is relatively busy during the day because of the tourists from cruisers but it is peaceful during the evening hours which is great because it allows you to dine quietly al fresco in one of many local restaurants with your family. The only drawback is that sea is still a bit chilly so swimming as option might be ruled out although the recent climate changes have warmed the sea quicker than before.
In my opinion early September is the best time to enjoy the Old City as there are less crowds in the city, there is plenty of sun, sea is excellent for swimming. Needless to say that price wise you can get a better deal. Couple of things to consider when booking your accommodation. The Old City is pedestrianized zone. There are two main entrance gates: The Pile Gate and The Ploce Gate. In 90% of the cases is that you will end up at the Pile Gate which is also considered to be the main entrance. Make sure your luggage suitcase has wheels. In my opinion any accommodation booked as you enter the main street Stradun and you go in the first and second street on the left around caffe bar Festival will suit you perfect, in other words beginning of Prijeko Street as you enter Stradun. Also anything north of Ulica od Puča my favourite corner being around St Rocco church, this is where you will find the best pizza in the town in pizzeria Mea Culpa. If you prefer lively yet placid atmosphere then I suggest anything around Bunićeva Poljana. For your sunbathing and swimming I suggest Lokrum, 15 minutes ride by boat from the Old City port. You can read my blog on the island. Enjoy!!!

The author of this article is Srđ Portolan, a founding member of Intercon Group of Companies, a board director at Spes Real Estate and Dubrovnik Luxury Travel.

Dubrovnik as bachelor and hen parties destination!!! Why not???

Dubrovnik Croatia is considered to be one of the world’s hotspots for the weddings because of its unprecedented beauty. It is not by chance that American socialites Fabiola Beracasa chose Dubrovnik srđ portolan bachelor and hento “fortify”her love to her husband Jason Beckham. We at DLT have been thinking of starting a new trend, organising bachelor and hen parties in some of our summer residency houses, setting everything up from catering to DJ entertainment. The idea as such sound appealing because in the post season months weather permitting you can still enjoy Dubrovnik Riviera and have a bit of fun. The idea started rolling out as some of our international investment bankers clients were so amazed by Dubrovnik and its Riviera beauty that they enquired regarding a possibility to organize a bachelor’s party in the summer residence Srđ Portolan summer residencehouse in Konavle region of Dubrovnik Riviera. We are hoping to attract the right type of a client who will not solely indulge in large quantities of alcohol ( no one wants the remake of the Hangover film scenes ) but who would also appreciate the cultural aspects of the region and even the neighboring countries, going on the individually tailored tour from Dubrovnik to Montenegro.

Dear blog and social media readers we would like to hear your ideas as well, how would you imagine your bachelor or hen night party. Perhaps you are put in charge of organizing someone’s party and right now you have come across this post. The idea of Croatia and especially Dubrovnik as bachelor or hen night party host is attractive because it combines culture,nature and fun. All you need to do is to sort out your getting to Dubrovnik transport issue and we would take care of the rest.

The author of this article is Srdj Portolan, a founding member of Intercon Group of Companies, a board director at Spes Real Estate and Dubrovnik Luxury Travel.

As Scotland decides on the referendum about its fate, we have asked Srđ Portolan what impact this may have on the tourism industry in Croatia ?

 

Srđ Portolan answers that there is no place for politics in any business and that the referendum on the Scottish independence is no exemption. Srđ Portolan, privately has a degree of sympathy towards those Scots who are in favour of the yes vote because he himself is a patriot and he has been involved in the creation of the Croatian state.srđ portolan scotland New countries such as Scotland believes Srđ Portolan if it happens should maintain neutrality. Dubrovnik had excellent charter and regular flights with Edinburgh and Glasgow. However, Portolan believes that new Scottish State if it happens could trigger a new wave of referendums across Europe. First on the map may be Catalonia and South Tyrol whose independences could possibly have dual consequences. New Scottish state must apply to join the European Union although Portolan sees no reason why they should do so as they hold large reserves of British oil and gas. However, the disappearance of the Great Britain as it once were, would mean possible uncertain political power future of that country which might turn the rest of the British economy towards the recession in which case people would travel less. The European travel sector becomes more competitive than ever Srđ Portolan continues as Spain are Greece have recorded substantial increases in the revenues generated according to Croatian daily newspapers Slobodna Dalmacija whereas Croatia’s growth has been minor, that of 1.9%. Srđ Portolan sees this twofold opportunity because if Scotland goes its own way and Catalonia follows, this may shift the attention of investors towards Catalonia itself and elsewhere, Croatia included. Independent Catalonia may stand the srđ portolan croatialittle chance of entering EU because of the Spanish vetto. In a strange way if one takes this angle of analysis the Scottish vote of independence is important for the future of Europe, possible new economic crisis would make citizens of Europe more cautious when it comes to travelling abroad on holidays which might have serious effect on the recovery of the Croatian economy as it is closely linked to the tourism industry. Although Srđ Portolan is very optimistic when it comes to Dubrovnik and its Old City. Srđ states that crisis or not this would not stop rich clients from travelling and as Dubrovnik is orientated towards the luxury segment of the market, it is safe for now. Furthermore, Portolan concludes that Dubrovnik as an international tourist destination brand should be looking more in the direction of the Far East and both Americas,as new markets, especially the Latin one which is reinstated by the fact that his companies had a 50% increase of enquiries from countries such as Mexico and Brazil.