Star Wars Episode VIII film crew and actors have invaded the Old City of Dubrovnik. After successfully appearing in the Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik Old City’s main street Stradun has been transformed for the Star Wars Episode VIII movie set. This will significantly boost the city’s tourism industry which may become new rising star of the film tourism industry. Great news for local businesses too so it was a great pleasure for my part that Intercon got involved with Disney production of the movie, catering for the transportation needs of film crew and actors alike.
Dubrovnik Old City’s unprecedented beauty and that of its surroundings are rather attracting for movie location hunters and this has even prompted the major of Dubrovnik to build a film studio. Does this mean that Dubrovnik is moving in the direction of Hollywood ? Could we possibly witness the sign resembling that of Hollywood seeing the day of light on Srdj Hill above Dubrovnik? Why not say I. Film industry is great for the luxury real estate business and perhaps this is just what Dubrovnik needs to improve further its status as the most luxury destination on the Adriatic coast.
And with the projects such as Gruz Marina, currently being undertaken and that of Golf Srdj Hill about to start, Dubrovnik is starting to resemble the European luxury destinations. What would be the icing on the cake for Dubrovnik’s prosperity is the establishment of tax haven in the city itself. This in itself would bring the investments and would open a whole range of new opportunities.
James Bond 007 Dubrovnik? Well after Star Wars have chosen Dubrovnik as the film setting for their next episode, the rumor is that the city authorities are negotiating with the production of James Bond movies about a possibility of filming a Bond movie. 007 is a true luxury brand from the tourism aspect. In a sense it would not only sell Dubrovnik as a destination, we all remember Leonardo DiCaprios’s the Beach, but it would also force big luxury clothes and other luxury good manufacturers to finally show up on Dubrovnik’s main street Stradun.
On the other hand, the opportunities for the international real estate market and yacht manufacturers are endless. Come on, admit it even you are not mega rich it would be an experience of a life time to go on a yach trip around Dubrovnik islands and be James Bond just for a day. Holidays are story telling experiences. How many times did you who had visited Dubrovnik, told your friends that you visited Dubrovnik, alias King’s Landing from the Game of Thrones. To be honest, it was my topic of conversation at the parties when I visited famous casino in Monte Carlo just because it was featured in James Bond movies.
James Bond is a superhero of any time and place. Because of the fact that he is timeless, personally I would like that the film setting for the next Bond movie be in Dubrovnik. That would be a true Goldfinger for the generations to come. It would also further enhance the profile of Dubrovnik on the international scale that it really deserves. And finally it could possibly wake the city up from the winter deadliness that it is currently experiencing. So, James Bond you have license to enter the city of Dubrovnik and if I were the mayor of Dubrovnik I would even put this agent on the payroll. I am certain that he would be the best travel agent that would sell Dubrovnik as a destination.
Srđ Portolan views Croatian innovators’ role as crucial in the development of the first luxurious electric yacht. Porotlan continues in his observation of the fact that Cadia executives have visited Mate Rimac of Rimac Cars to pick up the brains of the Concept One, luxury speed electric car innovator. Srđ Portolan informs us that the first electric yacht is yacht is planned to be 10.2 m in length, maximum speed of 55,5 km/h. The full load is up to 3 h/133 km at the speed of 44,4 km/h. The boat is extremely light (3630 kg ) and manufactured with environmentally friendly materials.
Srđ Portolan welcomes crowfunding as the way of raising finances and believes that the new government ought to facilitate this way of raising capital. Portolan adds that a staggering amount of the 20 % stake in the Cadia company is to be raised by issuing shares to the ordinary public at 1 EUR per share, the minimum bundle is that of 50 shares.
Bearing in mind the fact that Croatia has a large number of innovators and quality IT solutions software developers, Srđ Portolan believes that the new Government ought to offer tax incentives to the companies which are raising the funding capital in this way and as Portolan views it this move would definitely attract more foreign investment and would make Croatian economy more sustainable.
Srđ Portolan cannot wait to see these environment friendly beauties sailing the Adriatic.
Srđ Portolan in his capacity as Intercon Dubrovnik Travel & Maritime Agency managing director has taken an example of Singapore as world’s most desired medical travel destination. The success of Singapore story lies in clinics’ investment into modern day medical equipment, highly skilled labor force and readiness of Singapore National Tourist Board to invest into this segment of tourism in the sense that it has recognized its added values as means of attracting health care clients.
Srđ Portolan continues to highlight the fact that it is the added value which counts in promoting a destination. Cultural heritage of Dubrovnik Old City coupled with the areas natural beauty represents the biggest value added asset that Croatia has to offer. On the other side, Srđ Portolan adds, Dubrovnik has a fair share of clinics and one stands out in particular. Marin Med clinic and Dubrovnik private hospital not only that it has the ultra modern technology but it has the world renown doctors especially in the field of plastic surgery, orthopedics, spine minimal invasive procedures as well as yet to be introduced bariatric surgery.
Marin Med Private hospital is a unique of its kind as it offers the luxury of seven specially designed apartments, two of which are equipped to cater for seriously ill patients.
Another issue which can facilitate the development of medical tourism as far as Croatia is concerned as an EU member country is more transparent and if somewhat encouraged implementation of the EU directive on cross border health care. Portolan sees this directive as more of a political rather than economical issue. The political party in power in the countries like UK cannot admit the fact that their national health care systems are over burdened and that sending patients to other EU countries private clinics could be potentially viable solution for the UK tax payers.
The coming into effective functioning of EU directive on cross border health care can significantly improve the figures of Dubrovnik and Croatia’s post and pre season revenues.
I have written a countless number of blogs on luxury travel and luxury property but then again I have never tackle an issue of a foreign citizen who settles down in Dubrovnik and needs a legal aid. How they can choose a lawyer in Dubrovnik if they do not know the language and in particular the local mentality. I have posed this question to Viktorija Knezevic of Viktoria Knezevic & Marina Maslek Law Office which specializes in civil and commercial law.
Viktorija Knezevic admits that this may not be an easy task for a potential foreign investor who for instance does not have a domestic business partner. Knezevic continues that this is not really the question of listing through yellow pages or googling the net. Indeed, even if you take the alongside google search route, it does not reveal much. It will only show listings made in the business directories and this means nothing to you, who as a potential investor with a serious enough money with no connections to Dubrovnik want to know who is the person to whom you are going to be putting your trust into as your legal representative. Moreover the very same person is going to set up a limited company on your behalf and to him/her you will be granting power of attorney to represent your interests. Lawyer Viktorija Knezevic explains that Croatia has strict rules when it comes to advertising legal services. As far as Dubrovnik is concerned one does to live first in Dubrovnik and most probably the first recommendation they will receive is the one from an estate agent, Viktorija Knezevic of Viktorija Knezevic and Marina Maslek Law Office concludes. Another option is to network with people on various business functions and events and hear first account experiences, Business Cafe Dubrovnik being one of them. At the end of the day, the best marketing is the word of mouth one.
Srđ Portolan talks about digital millenial generation which on the international property markets is willing to take risks when it comes to investing into SEE markets. Portolan, in his capacity as a director of Spes real estate agency which is part of his Intercon Group of Companies, remarks that more younger professionals are ready to take on a challenge of entering the business property ladder in the Old City of Dubrovnik. What is more, Srđ admits that more often than not this is not an easy task, because it often means that by purchasing a run down house they quit their highly paid jobs in return for hard working, long term return yielding jobs of B&B owners. According to the well established Croatian property website Centar Nekretnine upward cost of renovation per sq/m in the Old City may come up to 1500 Eur. In spite of the former, Dubrovnik invasion of foreign property developers could be compared to that of Syrian and other refugees who are droving into Germany. The recent Deutsche Bank reports are announcing the stagnation of the German GDP. In Croatia and Dubrovnik as tourist season 2015 is coming to close, the Croatian Ministry of Tourism is announcing that tourist season 2015 was the record one in the terms of the net profits. Srđ Portolan concludes that this gives a boost to the Croatian economy at time when the GDP is expected to grow 1% by the end of the year.
Srđ Portolan also advises future investors to choose their legal representatives wisely. Srđ has been co-operating successfully with Viktorija Knezevic and Marina Maslek Law Office in Dubrovnik over the years. Portolan tells us is that what he likes about Viktorija Knežević who has accomplished herself as a successful read experienced civil and merchant lawyer is her direct approach and Viktorija’s tons of experience, primordial when purchasing your private or business property as what you really need to open your eyes about is property’s clean title. Yet another thing that Viktorija Knezevic and Marina Maslek Law Office in Dubrovnik can advise you about is which route to take while purchasing your property: private or business one. It pays to know that sometimes business route is the right choice when buying a private property.
Srđ Portolan is a director of Spes Real Estate Agency and the director of Dubrovnik Luxury Travel, companies which fall under umbrella of Intercon Group of Companies.
Viktorija Knezevic and Marina Maslek is a Law Office in Dubrovnik specializing in civil and merchant law.
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.
Villa Aurora is our special addition because of its location. It is only 13 km away from Dubrovnik, it makes part of Dubrovnik Riviera, nestled in the picturesque village of Trsteno and it is shrouded in a private estate spreading over 1800 m2 next to the Europe’s oldest Arboretum. It can house 8 people with the possibility of extra two as the villa who has 450 m2 comes with the auxiliary building. The approach to its interior design follows the concept of continuity of space and functionality so that master bedrooms, situated on the first floor have a continuity of one step from the en suite bathroom via the bedroom to the terrace. Spacious living and dining rooms offer the sense of minimalistic interior design where one can really relax and enjoy its holiday. In particular this is the case with al fresco dining by the pool as the kitchen with ultra modern appliances opens up to the terrace where a 10 seated dining table is positioned by the pool. The view is amazing, in the first plan are the Arboretum plants and trees while the second plan is reserved for the Adriatic and Dubrovnik islands. Villa Aurora is south faced and the fact that it is only 13 km away from Dubrovnik does help because you profit from its oasis of piece and quiet whilst being close to the colossal beauty of the Old City. What is excellent about this villa is the fact that you get free transfers to and from Dubrovnik airport as well as the fact that you get 30% discount on a daily yacht cruise around Dubrovnik islands and 30% discount on all excursions from Dubrovnik in the region sounds like a fair deal to me.
We have conducted this interview with Croatia’s and Dubrovnik’s top VIP concierge agent Mr Kristan Vrbanic who has been working with VIP clients from all over world for the past 20 years at Intercon Dubrovnik and recently for Dubrovnik Luxury Travel ?
Q: In your capacity as a Business Development Manager and Operations Manager for Intercon Group of Companies,what are your experiences when it comes to VIP Concierge Service in Dubrovnik and Croatia.
A: I have been in this business for the past 20 years and over the time I gained so many contacts and experience and it is a bit stupid to say so of myself but I like to think that I am the best choice when it comes to choosing your VIP agent and VIP agency in Croatia and Dubrovnik and the whole of Adriatic not forgetting Montenegro as an upcoming destination.
Q: Don’t you think that is a bit OTT?
A:Well, a list of my clients says it all. I have serviced some of the most influential people in the world. You must also understand that I and the luxury travel agency I work for Dubrovnik Luxury travel offer all in one, comprehensive service. Intercon is not only a travel but also a yacht agency which means that we are also top choice when it comes to yacht captains and owners as we can sort out their clearance in and out paperwork but equally organize all types of concierge services in Croatia & Montenegro.
Q: How does this differ from the others?
A: Well, it is simple, I have a finished product whereas the others have bits and pieces. Recently, I had a call from a fellow colleague who wanted me to help him out with the top VIP yacht charter transfer from Dubrovnik to Porto Montenegro, because he needed an agent to sort out the paperwork with border crossing. I helped him out but you can imagine the shock the client would receive if I was to charge for my services,
Q: So, if I were an agent from the States what kind of advice you would give to me?
A: Choose your VIP concierge partner in Croatia wisely, ask them to show you the reference list upon meeting them. Choose a reliable partner who can do all types of VIP services in Croatia on your behalf. There are people who can book you the luxury villa in Dubrovnik but when asked about the security and personal protection issues they do not have a clue. There are people who can book you a yacht charter and then rely on the captains to take a client out for a lunch.
I travel personally with my VIP clients and ensure that they receive top quality service at all times.
Q: Do I need to be a superstar to be your client?
A: No, Each client is different and each client deserves respect and special approach. When you are in this type of business, every client is a good client.
Q: If you are to sum up your type of business in one word, what would that be?
A: I would say lifestyle management in Croatia or even better luxury lifestyle management in Croatia
Zagreb is already an established European metropole with a number of airlines flying to it from European capitals and those destinations who are a hub, linking North and South America to Croatia via Zagreb. As a result, I would suggest you start your tour from Zagreb. Aim to get to Zagreb in morning, so that you profit from sightseeing The Upper and Lower Town. If you are coming as far as Asia and Australia, I would suggest that you spend your second day in Zagreb by a day outing in a nearby hamlet of Samobor or you go on a daily tour of Zagorje so called Green Riviera and visit Trakoscen Castle. From Zagreb you would normally proceed to Plitvice, which are a must visit. This magical National Park of cascading lakes and waterfalls is a true natural wonder and a
day well spent.
From here you are descending down to Split and after spending a day here sightseeing you either go to islands Hvar then Korcula, Mljet and end up in Dubrovnik or you choose the road route via sleepy yet interesting villages of Makarska Riviera to Dubrovnik. Personally, I prefer to get on a sea route to Dubrovnik, because this tour is really is a true opportunity to explore Croatia by both road and sea. Once you reach and explore Dubrovnik it is advisory you book one of DLT’s one day shore excursion from Dubrovnik to Mostar or from Dubrovnik to Kotor so that you can visit neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.