Prague, Istanbul, Dubrovnik. This last has won indeed the third place in the MICE destinations category. We have written before about Croatia as a MICE destination and have recognized Rovinj and the so called Green Riviera, Zagorje Hill Region. However, it is the setting of Dubrovnik’s Old City that keep attracting the businessmen from around the Europe. Dubrovnik’s gastronomy and in particular enology offer is second to none. After all what better than to visit Konavle and Peljesac wine region and enjoy the oysters from Mali Ston Bay after a hard day of conferencing. The global climate change has affected Dubrovnik’s tourist season for the better, hard to believe that a negative can turn to positive. Now it is perfectly normal to organize a dinner for conference people in October at sea, hiring the imposing 15th century replika Karaka boat. Twenty years ago this would have been unheard of as the beginning of September really meant the end of the season for that year. These days the cruisers are known to have docked in November. I personally OK this phenomenon despite the fact that I would imagine that these type of package deals in November are cheap and perhaps do not attract the luxury destination clients.I would love to see more small cruisers companies with luxury ships visiting destination in the same way as I see the development of the golf project as an ideal opportunity to attract businesspeople with deep pockets.
I would also like to focus a bit on the domestic clientele. During the off season time would it not be profitable to offer a month stay in the luxury hotels on full board. I guarantee that this would attract Zagreb’s creme de la creme to Dubrovnik who perhaps would become new Biarritz.
The new sunny day is here, the boreas wind is gone and great hopes for the luxury segment of Dubrovnik tourism industry are ahead of us. What Dubrovnik needs is to enter the new era of investments in this sector. The great news is that Sheraton chain is entering the market but in order to attract the guests with the deeper pockets, more needs to be done to improve Dubrovnik’s tourism offer. Project Golf Dubrovnik promises to do so as we have discussed it in our earlier posts. However, the much anticipated change needs to happen in the nautical sector where mega yachts need to be offered the adequate facilities for mooring in the Gruz marina. This part of the Mediterranean is not frequented by mega yachts for the lack of information captains receive but then again for the lack of facilities. We do not have Porto Montenegro here in Dubrovnik, such project would be the next yachting stop for all those yachts whose first port of call is Montenegro.
But what would happen in the longer run is that the building of a marina for mega yachts would keep the former moored there during the winter time, this would create jobs for the local industries at the time when Croatian economy performance indicators are gloom for the year 2015.
When I spoke to a owner of a Turkish luxury chain of hotels, he could not believe it the sluggish reaction of the Croatian government when it came to attracting new investments in the tourism sector. He told me that Turkish government would do almost everything to grant building permissions to serious investors, in certain cases the land is offered free in exchange for employment quotas. I wonder would this be the case here in Croatia. Having read that the Croatian ministry of employment urgently needs more than 300,00 workforce to sustain the pension system, perhaps the answer lies in the government measures of this kind that is of course if they are approved by Bruxselles.
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.