Srđ Portolan believes that Dubrovnik has a solid combination of cultural and entertainment activities during the summer season. Srđ continues to state that Dubrovnik Summer Festival, in itself is an established cultural brand which enables visitors to taste the unique experiences of the Old City summer open scene theatre combining Shakespeare and Držić ( Dubrovnik born renaissance writer of black comedies ) or it is a chance to hear the echoing of Ivo Vojnovich’s famous Dubrovnik Trilogy ( pre-second war established writer ) who has so well described the fall of the 19th century Dubrovnik Republic. Srđ Portolan believes that staging Dubrovnik born and bred writers and classical composers, Srđ gives an example of Luka Sorkočević, is one of the best way to promote local heritage in particular that of the Old City. However Srđ Portolan admits that perhaps Dubrovnik Summer Festival lacks modern day cutting edge touch and in this recession hit times visitors to Dubrovnik and the natives need a beauty to their eyes. Srđ Portolan elaborates that perhaps Miss Dubrovnik Summer Festival ought to be a regular feature. I laughed at first but then when I googled Miss America 2014 I realized that Srđ was right and that his idea was not at all loony. Miss America is USA and even world’s biggest non-profit organization sponsoring the education of women between the age of 17 and 24. Miss America 2014 winner Kira Kazantsev will opt out to become a law graduate. Srđ Portolan suggested that perhaps with the existing ACMT or the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology already in Dubrovnik and perhaps if the winner of such manifestation can get scholarship for ACMT that would be an excellent way of demonstrating where a cultural manifestation with the elements of beauty can have entertainment factors and be beneficial for the local community. The biggest sponsor of Dubrovnik Summer Festival is VIP, Croatian telecoms company. Srđ Portolan believes that perhaps Dubrovnik Summer Festival ought to incorporate fashion show elements. Srđ believes that perhaps summer edition of CRO A PORTER could be an excellent opportunity to launch young Croatian fashion designers that would have an excellent channel of marketing, direct one where the visitors, the tourists can purchase their garments directly. Such manifestation would draw a larger number of competing sponsors and would raise not only the profile of Dubrovnik but Croatia on the whole. Srđ Portolan is of the opinion manifestations that bear the local character such as Dubrovnik’s famous “ each part of the town has its street party” type are important not only as the entertainment to the visiting tourists but also to the locals as well as they are integral way of maintaining local tradition. So next time when you are in Dubrovnik and you see posters advertising “Gruška Noć” or “Noć Uvale” rest assured that it is a party night ( noć ) to be remembered for.
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. 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 little 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.
Srđ Portolan has been in the foreground of Dubrovnik newest era of its tourism prosperity since 1995 and Srđ has talked about Intercon travel agency humble beginnings on numerous occasions in the aftermath of the 1991-1995 war conflict. Srđ Portolan openly admits that he was learning the ropes of the trade as he went along and Srdj Portolan is a firm believer of the philosophy that a human being is learning all the time and that in this process of life cycle one is bound to make mistakes and regrettable decisions. Perhaps Srdj Portolan view of Dubrovnik as top destination is a biased one. But then again I would not blame him as he grew up in the part of Dubrovnik overlooking the Old City and the island of Lokrum which are great inspirations for any native of Dubrovnik. Srđ Portolan evokes the time when August 25 would mark the end not only of Dubrovnik Summer Festival but would also bring the ring of the school bell closer to home. Srdj adds that this would shorten the time spent on his favourite St Jacobs beach where he and his mates spent days on end playing two of their classy games: card game “tresheta” and the water sports game called “picigin”. Srđ Portolan believes that tourists can learn a lot about Croatian cultural legacy by visiting Dubrovnik and in particular Dubrovnik Old city. Srđ Portolan, has been an award winning manager on a number of times ( according to Croatian Institute of Business intelligence and ). Srđ is right in his statement that a simple game of picigin which consists of keeping the small palmed size plastic ball up in the air the longer the better as one displays acrobatic skills of a ball saviour while the players’ feet are deeply buried in shallows of the sea water, is on the par with the top team building exercises that ever it were. Portolan adds the aim is to do your up most best for the people in your circle. One should even argue that the game of picigin resembles to Google +, the only photos you were sharing with your picigin circle friends were that of famous football players once the World Cup was in the headlines. What is more, the architectural beauty of the Old City was born out from the philosophy of common good and freedom in all its forms and shapes. The freedom of movement was well respected during the years of Dubrovnik republic and although Bing search engine may have come handy to find the services of such and such merchant at the end everyone knew their place as far as business and social connotation and etiquette was concerned. The last two survived the modern age as you do not need facebook, twitter to find your friend sipping his favorite coffee in the coffee shop where he has been surrounded by his inner circle of friends. Srdj Portolan remembers Dubrovnik Old City bloggers who were back in the mid-eighties strolling Stradun and literally shouting resourceful information about happenings at the time. The late Tomo Separevic was true Dubrovnik’s “origino” which translates as someone with bundles of personality. Despite the fact that he was shouting the news about the current political situation ( political blogging ) he observed the golden etiquette rule of Stradun walking. You never run on Stradun and you never shout after someone. It is not by chance that Srđ Portolan having visited so many destinations recalls the old Dubrovnik adage:
“Go everywhere but always come home !”
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 rivalry 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 as 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 Marjan 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.
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 was 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 Kravice 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 coach 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.
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.
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 about 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.
Tvrtka Intercon Dubrovnik prošla je dugačak put razvoja od svojih skromnih početaka kao rent a car agencija davne 1995. do današnje renomirane turističke i pomorske agencije. Pitali smo Srđa Portolana, člana uprave Intercona Dubrovnik, koliko se toga promijenilo u razvoju turizma otkada je njegov otac također Srđ Portolan hrabro odlučio krenuti u rent-a-car poslovanje, netom nakon završetka
Domovinskoga rata. Srđ nam je objasnio da je njegov otac znanje i iskustvo stečeno kroz dvadesetogodišnji rad na raznim razinama poslovanja u turizmu jednostavno primjenio u njihovoj tvrtci. Portolan mlađi nam nadalje naglašava da je u svakoj vrsti poslovanja imperativ imati viziju. Srdj je tu viziju imao za luksuzni korporativni segment turizma.
Srđ Portolan dalje elaborira da je u vrijeme odmah nakon završetka rata veliki broj stranih državnika posjećivao Dubrovnik i Hrvatsku te je njihov dolazak predstavljao zlatnu priliku za oblikovanje cjelokupne usluge servisiranja njihovoga dolaska. Srdj nam je rekao da je u to vrijeme imao ono što se u svijetu „biznisa“ zove “zlatna koka” u djelatnosti rent-a-car-a te da se mogao usredotočiti na razvijanje luksuznoga korporativnoga segmenta. Srđ Portolan nam je priznao da se dubrovački turizam, po njegovom mišljenju, razvija u smjeru omasovljenja, odnosno kvantitete a ne kvalitete, te da nije siguran u njegov krajni ishod. Srđ nam dalje objašnjava da su male agencije prepoznale mogućnosti u segmentu rent a cara i krenuli kopirati jedni druge. U toj konkurentskoj borbi „malih“ veliki igrači namirisali su priliku te su svojom jačinom u količinskoj sposobnosti da ispostave auto bilo gdje poklopili male konkurente i to s najpresudnijim čimbenikom: cijenom.
Iznenada Srđ je bio suočen s gašenjem jednoga segmenta turističkoga tržišta koji mu je omogućavao da se usredotoči na razvijanje svoje tvrtke u drugim smjerovima tj. da pronađe najprofitabilniji segment. Srdj nam kaže da se u danome momentu, poučen uspjehom servisiranja korporativnoga diplomatskoga segmenta, odlučio razvijati u smjeru kvalitete i luksuza. Srđ nam dalje predočitava kako je dolaskom diplomata i političara nastupio i dolazak slavnih i „jet seta“. Srdj se nadovezuje te nam govori kako se naglo javila potreba za pomorskim agentima budući da su se slavni vozili morskim putem. Srđ nam dalje objašnjava kako je Intercon Dubrovnik od rent-a-car agencije postao pomorska agencija. Srđ je također uvido da je pojava branda u luksuznom turizmu presudna za daljnji razvoj njegovog poslovanja. Tako su i nastala dva branda: “Dubrovnik Luxury Travel” za putnički dio te “Adriatic Yacht Services” za pomorski dio agencije.
No Srđ Portolan se tu ne zaustavlja. Srdj obožava sport, tenis, trčanje, ronjenje i sve adrenalinske sportove. Srđ je veliki motivator te rado osobno provjerava usluge koje plasira na svojim web stranicama. Na nedavno održanome incentivu kojemu su prisustvovali svi djelatnici “DLT-a” i “AYS” Srdj je bio oduševljen slobodnim padom niz kanjon rijeke Cetine dok je priključen na sajlu pod adrenalinskim naponom izbacivao svu nakupljenu negativnu energiju smišljajući pritom kako bi bilo idealno uvrstiti ovaj pad kao dio incentiva za nadolazeće grupe. Prema nekim slobodnim procjenama sve je veći broj mladih profesionalaca koji žele obići pojedinu zemlju i upoznati njene prirodne ljepote i kulturnu baštinu kroz ovaj oblik turizma.
Srđu poželimo sreću u njegovim nadolazećim poslovnim aktivnostima u nadi da će i ovaj segment turizma doživiti svoje luksuzno izdanje u novim podvizima Srđa Portolana
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
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.
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
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.