Category Archives: Dubrovnik Luxury News

We have asked Srđ Portolan what is so special about Split as Croatia’s emerging new destination?

Srđ Portolan smiled at me as I posed  this question to him but Srđ did not hide the fact that there is a great friendship between the natives of Dubrovnik and Split. Portolan adds that the element of friendly srđ portolan splitrivalry brings actually people together. They both live in what is known as Croatian province of Dalmatia, Dubrovnik celebrates its patron saint; St Blaise, Split on the other hand celebrates St Domnius. Both cities have churches devoted to their patron saints. Split’s Old City is not as stunning as that of Dubrovnik but in a sense it is much cosier and it does have this element of Roman past as Diocletianus palace is a well preserved monument. Srđ Portolan continues to add that in a same way as Dubrovnik has its Srđ hill, after which he and many Dubrovnik natives were named, Split does have its Marjan hill, which is covered in dense pine tree forest and it is ideal for running and cycling activities. Srđ Portolan tells me that names like his and that of Blaise which in Croatian translates as Vlaho are unique to Dubrovnik in a same way as the name of St Domnius or Duje in Croatian and that of Lovro are typical Split males names. Unfortunately this falls short of the EU Commission policy on gender equality,Srdj Portolan says jokingly, but it is a reminder of Croatia’s patrimony legacy.
Srdj Portolan says that the reason why is Split becoming more appealing to tourists is  because of its cultural, natural beauties and the entertainment factors. We have explained the cultural factors, Split’s Old City Peristil and Diocletianus Palace. Split is also known srđ portolan old city splitas a hub city for visiting Croatian islands of Ciovo, Brac, Hvar and Vis. In our previous blogs we have sung praises to Hvar’s beauty and rich night life and Vis’ Blue Cave phenomenon, undoubtedly the best diving spot in the whole of the Adriatic. Srđ Portolan further adds that Split is in within easy reach of the natural parks of Krka and Plitvice and if you are after adrenaline rush you can always raft down river Cetina.Split has also hosted a second year in a row Urban House music festival. For the lovers of luxury accommodation and all those yachting tourism enthusiasts Split does have two luxury five star hotels Le Meridien Lav and  Marjansrđ portolan marjan hill with their own small marinas where you can moor your “pet”. Last but not the least if you want your son to become the next Marin Cilic, the winner of the US Open 2014, just send him to Split. It is here that he moved from his home town of Medjugorje and Split is a home town to almost all Croatian world recognised tennis stars, Goran Ivanisevic, Mario Ancic,Iva Majoli,Mirjana Lucic just to name the few concludes Srđ Portolan.

Marin Čilić vs Kei Nishikori or Međugorje vs Japan

We have indeed written a lot about different clusters of tourism industry in Croatia, about scopes and future directions of their development. Srđ Portolan, in particular has commented on the opportunities that Dubrovnik as a destination has to use Croatian, internationally recognized sportsmen for the PR of its tourism industry.

One rather important aspect that Srđ Portolan admittedly forgot to mention is religious tourism.

Srdj Portolan, for his part is confident that the US Open 2014 final will change that score forever. If you ask why, Srdj Portolan who is an avid tennis player, answers that for the sheer fact Marin Čilić waSrđ Portolan tennis Marin Čilićs born and raised in Međugorje. Although it is yet to be recognized by Vatican as a sacred place where the Virgin Mary appeared in front of a group of children back in 1981, the rivers of pilgrims flock every year to this pious place to pray for their beloved ones. And you really need to visit Medjugorje to truly understand the meaning of the words written in this text. Srdj Portolan tells me that he was surprised by the harsh scenery that dominates Herzegovina region where Medjugorje is situated, yet Srđ Portolan and MedjugorjeKravice waterfalls which are situated not far from Medjugorje are simply oasis of beauty, this hidden spot, Srdj Portolan believes is there for a purpose. With all due respect to Kei Nishikori who is the best Japanese player of all times, a dream of young Marin from Medjugorje to win the US Open 2014 is closer than ever. The whole Croatia will be watching Marin Čilić and his Srđ Portolancoach Goran Ivanišević and cheering for them. No doubt Japan will be watching Kei Nishikori and his coach Michael Chang. May the best samurai wins commented at the end Srdj Portolan. In any case this is going to be a huge publicity for Croatia, on the par with the 2014 World Cup opening game with  Brazil.

The future of eco-tourism in Dubrovnik region as viewed by Srđ Portolan

In this post Srđ Portolan will examine the success of the eco-tourism in the region of Konavle and what are other potential areas on Dubrovnik region where this model of tourism can be improved.srđ portolan

Srdj Portolan has told us that the so called farm household tourism which offers their guest the unique taste of the local way of life is on the rise. Srđ tells us that the guests are eating organically grown food . Portolan further adds that when the season permitts they get involved in local farm works like picking up the olives or grapes.Srdj Portolan continues that this trend of relaxation is well known among the European countries and in particular those in the Scandinavia. Srdj also says that this type of holiday has an educational connotation as parents teach and offer to their children first hand experience about the food making process, for instance olive oil production. Srđ Portolan believes that Dubrovacko primorje apart from capitalising on the cultural aspects, the village of Ljubac is a typical example of seeing a traditional celebration of Easter, natural remedies routes ought to be established. Like that of Konavle region Srđ adds and following example of Peljesac region where the wine road has been routed and posted, Srđ Portolan belives that the same ought to be done for the so called “Natural Herbes” routes. Srđ states that in modern age of living more and more people turn to alternative methods for treatment especially when it comes to headaches and lighter form of aches. Srdj Portolan suggests that the tourists would love the opportunity to pick up their own St John’s Worth plant, dry it and make their own tea out of it.

Srđ Portolan believes that cultural aspects always need to be taken into account. It is true that for Scandinavian tourists the sun is the central piece of their holiday combining with the cultural visits to places like Mostar. However the same cannot be said for the guests from Middle Eastern oil rich countries. Portolan adds that a small luxury hotel in the rural countryside Konavle will do well for the fact that it close to river Ljuta. It is precisely water that they are fascinated aboutSrđ Portolan  water for the simple shortage of it in the Middle East. Srdj Portolan states that it is a common misconception that a guest from Middle East is interested in visiting Mostar, architecturally it is a Turkish legacy a story seen millions times over in Istanbul.

Srđ Portolan believes that the scope for eco-tourism growth is large and it is there to be explored with the right marketing tools in your hands.

Portolan Srđ and some of his viewpoints on Dubrovnik luxury travel market

Portolan Srdj
Srdj Portolan, a member of DLT management board

In the previous blogs we have written a lot about Srđ Portolan and his viewpoint on the development of the nautical tourism in Croatia. Srdj for his part was fascinated by the so called “French” model who were among the first who have recognized the need for the construction of mega yacht marinas like the example of “Billionaire Dock” in St Tropez which Portolan Srđ in his capacity as a member of Dubrovnik Luxury Travel management board visited

Portolan Srdj
Srđ Portolan & DLT Management Team

back in March 2013 on the incentive trip Srđ took part in together with Portolan’s colleagues from DLT and its sister company Adriatic Yacht Services. Talking to some of the yachts’ captains Srdj was perplexed by the lack of the knowledge captains had about the Albanian, Montenegrin and Croatian side of the Adriatic and marina facilities that were available to them on their trajectory to Venice.

The importance of branding was another issue Srđ Portolan stressed about when Srdj talked about the development of luxury tourism in Dubrovnik as Croatia’s top destination within the destination itself. As Portolan Srdj junior learned from Portolan Srđ senior the recognition of the moment like in any business cycle curve prove to have been the secret ingredient in the winning formula of success in the story of Dubrovnik and for that matter in the wider context of Croatia’s tourism as well. Portolan Srđ prompted that the saturation of the rent-a-car market simply strengthen his belief that the servicing of luxury clients within the destination, providing that this service is of the highest possible quality, is the future of his brands positioning within the luxury segment of the market.Portolan Srdj

Even within this particular segment, Srđ sees the future in the close co-operation of the owners of luxury villa accommodation and the providers of the luxury services. For instance as far as Dubrovnik is concerned, the Old City will always attract visitors for its preserved beauty. However, for the luxury guests who are accustomed for the high level of service facilities Dubrovnik is not in the league of the top French Riviera destinations. On the other hand many would argue that it is not cost effective to invest in the so called additional value determinants. Portolan Srđ understands why entrepreneurs are discouraged to invest in the high class luxury villa accommodation

Portolan Srdj
Luxury Dubrovnik Villa

because it is difficult to achieve ROI let alone its reasonable rate. Portolan Srđ believes that this is due to short length of the season. That is why Srdj states many opt out to restoring residence houses and present them on the market as villas. We support Srđ’s theory as generally speaking everyone works in its full capacity in the tourism sector in Dubrovnik for the period of 60 days which is not enough to make it till the end of the year. Srđ is a firm believer that the short duration of the season is off putting the investors in general as for starters the opportunity cost is high. We understand Srdj’s statement as it does not make sense to open a luxury restaurant which is going to remain empty for the rest of the year.

Portolan sees strong MICE sector in Dubrovnik as Croatia’s top destination as something that might save the day. Furthermore, Portolan Srdj sees marketing issues as many travel agencies lack the adequate marketing funds to promote themselves on the exhibitions around the world. Srđ for his part realizes that the support of the airline industry plays a pivotal role in making the MICE story a success.

Watch out this space for Portolan Srđ views on the current developments in Dubrovnik and Croatia luxury travel market news.

Uloga elitnih (luksuznih) brandova u budućem razvoju hrvatskog turizma;DULUX u suradnji sa Srđ Portolan

Srdj Portolan
Srdj Portolan, a member of DLT management board

Ovaj članak nema znanstvenu vrijednost, već u svojoj cjelini predstavlja stručni osvrt na potrebu i funkcionanost razvoja luksuznih brandova u turističkoj destinaciji. U tom kontekstu je i njegova povezanost s daljnjim razvojem luksuznih brandova u okviru razvoja hrvatskoga turizma. U materijalnom svijetu “opipljivih” stvari pozicija branda je kristalno jasna. Ona se temelji na sinonimu kvalitete. Reci čokolada i pomisao je na Dorinu, reci voda i misli te vode na Janu. Bajadera je s druge s trane sinonim za luksuzne čokoladice. Svi ovi izlazni brandovi imaju u osnovi kvalitetu i tradiciju.

U uslužnom sektoru situacija je znatno drugačija. Tradicija odnosno njen nedostatak kočnica je razvoja pružanja usluga kad se govori o luksuznim brandovima u turizmu Republike Hrvatske.

Strategija razvoja turizma u Hrvatskoj prije rata prvenstveno se odnosila na razvoj masovnog turizma. Danas, u vrijeme izrazito visoke elastičnosti turističke potražnje i potrebe za detaljnom segmentacijom turističkog tržišta, nedostatak luksuznih brandova ponovno vodi k omasovljenju turizma.

Pitali smo Srđa Portolana, člana uprave Dubrovnik Luksuznih Putovanja, o čemu je zapravo ovdje riječ. Srdj Portolan nam je objasnio da smo u prošlosti u okviru planske ekonomije imali vrlo jaki ulazni brand podpomognut državnim poticajnim sredstvima. U bivšoj Jugoslaviji Yugotours je kao turoperator bio nenadmašivo ime jugoslovenskoga turizma. Srđ Portolan nam dalje tvrdi da danas u Hrvatskoj ne postoji domaći luksuzni turistički brand jedinstveno

zbog tržišne ekonomije koja sama po sebi donosi segmentaciju tržišta. Upravo iz tog razloga, u okviru luksuznih putovanja, pojavile su se segmentirane marketing agencije. Portolan nam u produžetku otvoreno kaže da agencija čiji je Srđ član uprave u svom luksuznom izdanju nije ništa drugo nego produžena ruka agencije koja za brand ima svakodnevno radno izdanje. Srđ Portolan naglašava da je Srđ Portolankvaliteta luksuznoga branda na zaista visokoj razini. Srđ tvrdi da je vrlo teško od početka pokrenuti luksuzni brand, a iz razloga optimizacije stranice i teškoće izbora zvučnog imena. Razlog zašto se on opredijelio za ime Dubrovnik Luxury Travel je upravo zbog optimizacije. Portolan ukazuje da se zapadni model luksuznih brandova u turizmu temelji na imenu pojedinca. Kao primjer navodi Wandu Radetti, jednu od najboljih američkih agenata za hrvatsko tržište koja je sama po sebi luksuzni brand.

Srđ Portolan
Srđ Portolan & DLT Management Team

Srđ Portolan nadalje smatra da će se razvoj luksuznih brandova u okviru hrvatskoga turizma vrlo vjerojatno odvijati kao produžena ruka radnoga branda.

Ostaje za vidjeti tko će biti nova hrvatska Wanda Radetti.

The importance of Adriatic Sea as a yachting destination in the Mediterranean basin, viewed by Srdj Portolan.

Srđ Portolan
Srdj Portolan on business trip in Monaco

Puerto Benus and Portofino, the first one near Marbella, the second one near Genova have been the playground of the rich and famous in the yachting world. Add the dosage of St Tropez and Sicily and the circuit of the yachting world for the rich and famous is closed. Srđ Portolan, a member of the Adriatic Yacht Services executive board explains that after the yachting season finishes around St Kitts and St Lucia and when another one starts in the Mediterranean basin, the Adriatic sea comes at the bottom end. Srdj Portolan, Darijan Portolan and Kristian Vrbanic, all three members of the Adriatic Yacht Services were shocked to realize Srdj Portolanwhen they went on their French Riviera business trip back in 2013 that the vast majority of the captains take the Italian coast route to Venice and back. Srđ tells us that lack of marinas and in particular the lack of super marinas for mega yachts prevented the captains to use Croatian coast on their way to Rovinj and making that last bit of trajectory journey to Venice.

Portolan stressed that captains are unsure of what to expect in Croatia, Srđ continues to tell us that he utterly understands their concerns. Srđ Portolan is among those who believes that one of Croatia’s most profitable state companies ACI Marinas, needs to privatize even larger slice of the share capital.

Srd Portolan
Srdj Portolan

Furthermore, Srdj believes that such measure would lead to the construction of mega yacht marina something Portolan and Co witnessed on their visit to French Riviera’s Billionaire Docks. Srđ Portolan states that the state’s involvement into promotion of Croatia as Europe’s next must visit yachting destination would play a primordial role in steering the captains’ attention towards Croatian marinas.

Srdj Portolan
Srdj Portolan, a member of Intercon’s management board.

Not everything is black as it seems to be as the Adriatic sea marina sector is growing rapidly. Porto Montenegro in Tivat, Montenegro is a typical example of the theory “ When there is a will, there is a way” In true adage of an ex-soldier Srdj Portolan concludes “Who dares wins”. Remains to be seen whether something like Porto Ragusino is on the horizon that in the eyes of many would turn Dubrovnik into new Monte Carlo. Watch out this space!

 

Srdj Portolan advises you on how to explore Croatia on budget and travel in luxury style.

Everyone talks about Croatia as this beautiful country with 1000 islands. Srđ Portolan, a member of Dubrovnik Luxury Travel

Srđ Portolan
Srđ Portolan

management board tells us that you do not have to be rich and travel in style. Srđ has recently worked with four Brazilian clients who wanted to have fun in the sun and to enjoy Croatian food and wine. Srđ has managed to include visits to Elaphiti islands, Korcula ( this is where Portolan surname originally comes from ) Hvar and Vis.

Interestingly enough Srdj who is a keen diver, managed to squeeze a diving session for the Brazilians off the island of Vis,

Srđ Portolan Vis
Srđ Portolan Vis

near the world famous Blue Cave. It was a lovely day out with a speedboat from the island of Hvar. Portolan explained to us that a common mistake that people sometimes make is to try to link their journey from starting point, Dubrovnik to Split via the ferry. Srdj Portolan continues to tell us that a journey from Dubrovnik to Korcula in a luxurious mini van is equally pleasant one and that on the way to Hvar you can

Srđ Portolan in Hvar
Srđ Portolan in Hvar

always go via Trpanj and then Drvenik to Starigrad on Hvar and continue your journey to Hvar Old City on the island of Hvar. We asked Srdj could this be a bit tiresome. He answered back that we should not forget the fact that the Brazilians had two days out with a speedboat, one on the Elaphiti islands and the second one on the island of Vis which proved a true winner because it was a unique opportunity to dive in the Blue Cave. Srđan told us that this itinerary included a visit to Krka National

Srdj Portolan NP Krka
Srđ Portolan NP Krka

Park, the town of Split and for the true lovers of oysters on the way back from Split, they stopped in the medieval town of Ston.

So we agreed this was the true luxury tour for a 7 days tour for a price of EUR 9980 for four people and considering that the accommodation was a five star one ( except Korcula and Hvar, an excellent four star one ) this is indeed a true winner.

Added value determinants in Croatia luxury market segment as viewed by Srdj Portolan

Dubrovnik is Croatia’ s the best known destination and as such it has a scope to achieve great potential in the luxury market segment. The appearance of added value determinants would have a huge impact on Croatia’s tourism industry at large. First we need to clarify what do we mean by added value and how does it translate in the terminology of the luxury market language.

Srdj Portolan Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik at night by Srđ Portolan

Firstly by basic definition this is a free bit that adds to the value of the actual service. To illustrate by example in the luxury market if we book a room with a five star luxury hotel, their courtesy car free airport pick up would be a classic example of something which has further justified the value, in other words the price of our booking. If each five star hotel in Dubrovnik is to employ such a service measure how would this affect the transportation companies in Dubrovnik ?

Srđ Portolan,  a member of Dubrovnik Luxury Travel management board states that five star hotels cannot offer such a service alone. Furthermore, Portolan believes that if hotels are to decide to subcontract those services to the transportation companies, this sector would be segmented accordingly. Srđ says that now there are transfer companies and agencies which do everything, luxury transfers and ordinary transfers in the same car but different price. Srđ continues to state that if luxury five star hotels are to offer a free excursion as a added value to the booking of their accommodation, the same applies and would lead to segmentation of travel agencies sector. Srđ Portolan states that in the luxury sector travel agencies must offer by default value added service. Srđ has devised DLT’s concierge service to the hire of luxury villas. Portolan has explained to us that free incentives are a must have service in the luxury market sector.

Srđ Portolan
Srdj Portolan at Antibe Port on the French Riviera

It appears to us that the introduction of added value determinants is a must when it came to the prosperity of Dubrovnik luxury travel sector.

Srđ Portolan is a winner of the Best Entrepreneur award for the year 2003, 2006 and 2013 according to Croatian Institute of Business Intelligence.

Srđ Portolan Award
Srđ Portolan The Golden Book of the Best Croatian Entrepreneurs

Srdj Portolan’s view on the development of the nautical tourism in Croatia

FerretiThe country of 1000 islands, the total revenue of the tourism in the whole of the world amounts to 100 billion euros. Nowadays Croatia gets 6% slice of the tourism cake. Before the war, tourism in Croatia was the main economic drive which was filling in the coffers of the National Bank of ex- Yugoslavia. The war has put Croatia as destination on hold but now this beautiful country is in again and everyone is buzzing about Croatia as the top European destination.

Srd Portolan
Srđ Portolan

Croatia has a great potential in this economical branch. However as in every business the key is in the strategy. To revert back to the first sentence of this article, “the country of 1000 islands”, it seems to me that the answer to question regarding the strategy is self explanatory. Croatia needs to follow the example of Montenegro and it needs to create positive investment climate for the construction of mega yacht marinas. We have asked Srdj Portolan, a member of Adriatic Yacht Services management bord his viewpoint. Srđ has told us that we should follow the model employed by France. Portolan was the part of the Adriatic Yacht Services incentive trip which took place in Cap d’Antibe in March 2013. Srđ told us that he was amazed by the scale of marinas and especially those reserved for megayachts. Srđ also explained to us that the quality of the infrastracture services was second to none. Srđ Portolan stressed that this French model is what Croatia lacks.

Srdj Portolan
Srđ Portolan, a member of Intercon’s management bord.

Here in Croatia, Dubrovnik if we are to examine only two of these factors, we have failed the exam. Naturally we have to follow the example of our neighbors, Montenegrins. Porto Montenegro in Tivat, a luxury marina complex, an Anglo-Russian investment project is a success story to the point that oil struck Azeri investors are investing a serious money for the development of a new luxury marina in Kumbor. Having been to Porto Montenegro I was amazed at the scale of infrastructure, restaurants, luxury shops, luxury travel agencies, yacht dealership representative offices, car dealership representative offices which to me only highlighted the seriousness of the whole story.

Srdj PortolanAt the end of the day, the conclusion one can draw is a simple one, Dubrovnik as Croatia’s top destination must find asap a solution for the construction of a marina for mega yachts before is too late. So if you get on your yacht in Porto Montenegro in Tivat and it is logical that your next stop is Dubrovnik. However if you do not have marina for megayachts let alone accompanying infrastructure and services, it is highly unlikely that you as a country read destination, are to raise this slice in the cake to let us say 8% and speed up your economic recovery.

Interview with Dubrovnik Luxury Travel Operations Manager Mr Kristian Vrbanic

Could you tell us more about Dubrovnik Luxury Travel and your role as Operations Manager?

dubrovnik luxury travel operations manager
dubrovnik luxury travel operations manager

Dubrovnik Luxury travel has been a market leader in the luxury segment for the past 15 years, here in Croatia and in the region. We are proud that we have served the world’s most powerful clients. Each year our base of luxury clients is growing.

If I were a VIP client, what would be your best recommendation to explore Dubrovnik and Croatia?

Croatia is a country of over 1300 islands. There are many National Parks like the world renown Plitivce Lakes, Krka waterfalls, National Park Brioni, president’s Tito ex-residence, National Park Kornati, an ideal destination to charter a yacht or perhaps do a spot of sailing. In one word, Croatia is a country of many beautiful spot. My recommendation to explore Croatia is the sea way from Dubrovnik to Split. I would charter a yacht from Dubrovnik, I must say that the both, Dubrovnik airport and Split airport are well connected with the rest of the world. En route from Dubrovnik to Split there are many beautiful towns like Cavtat, picturesque Mediterranean town close to Dubrovnik Konavle wine region. The next one is the medieval town of Korcula on the island of Korucla, a birthplace of Marco Polo. I must say that Korcula has excellent gastronomy and white wines, Posip. I like diving and the island of Vis is my favorite. There are so many wrecked ships from the Second World War and would you believe sunk airplanes. Sea next to the Blue Cave just like in Capri, has the best sea visibility in the whole of the Adriatic. There are no sharks.

Croatian sailing at its best
Croatian sailing at its best

What about this island of Hvar. Is this a must see island?

Oh, Hvar is simply amazing! This is a must visit destination for all those chartering yahct, sailboats, catamarans and this is also party island, it’s Croatian version of St Tropez. Carpe Diem, Croatian best known night club and lounge bar.hvar

Tell me about this upcoming destination, Split?

diocletian palace
diocletian palace

Split is originally a Roman city, the remains of the Diocletian palace are still there. It is the second biggest town in Croatia. What I like about Split that its Old City is quite unique, good choice of restaurants, good shopping. Transportation wise, it’s a hub for islands, ferries run from Split port to the islands of Hvar and Brac. Split Airport is well connected to all European destinations. Krka National Park is nearby and the towns of Sibenik and Skradin.

Where do you see the development of Croatian luxury market ?

I see Adriatic as a destination not only Croatia, but Montenegro as well. Adriatic has a pristine clear sea, islands, it is only two hours away from London and Istanbul. Top investors have recognized this. Dubrovnik is building a golf course and luxury villas. At the moment there is a shortage of luxury villas in Dubrovnik and the whole of the Adriatic. I have clients contacting me on daily basis to enquire about the hire of luxury villas. Luckily I have few on the books. Continuing on this subject of investing, in Montenegro for instance, there was a British-Russian investment into marna project Porto Montenegro. There is even bigger marina being planned. Montenegro will be a starting point for the luxury yacht cruises and this would include Dubrovnik, Split, Sibenik, Zadar. I really see the future of the Croatian tourism on the whole and in particular the luxury market segment in the nautical tourism.

When I, Srdj Portolan and Darijan Portolan went for a business trip in France we saw a true example of nautical tourism model with a supportive infrastructure and this is what we lack.

skradin

Mr Kristian Vrbanic, thank you very much for taking your time to talk to us.