Everyone talks about Croatia as this beautiful country with 1000 islands. Srđ Portolan, a member of Dubrovnik Luxury Travel
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,
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
At 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.
Dubrovnik airport is by far the most sophisticated airport in Croatia. The drive from the Dubrovnik airport to the Dubrovnik city is a half an hour transfer. Dubrovnik Luxury Travel Darijan explained to me why is it better to make a pre-advanced booking. Buses are out of question as they are old and not consistent. There is no uniformed company that looks after the transport from and to Dubrovnik airport. Then there are taxi drivers. Unlike in the other European cities where taxis are easily recognizable this is not the case with Dubrovnik and what is more sometimes they can charge you an arm and a leg.
With pre-booked transfer from Dubrovnik airport to your hotel destination you are met and greeted by your driver who follows Dubrovnik Luxury Travel philosophy of being always professional, speaking fluent English, discreet yet at your disposal. And there is a question of reliability because Dubrovnik Luxury Travel luxury transfer vehicles are reliable, safe so this 30 minutes transfer passes in no time. If you happen to visit Dubrovnik with a group of friends then there is no other solution but to book Dubrovnik Luxury mini van. However, Dubrovnik Luxury Travel flexibility comes at work especially when the top luxury clients are involved. On one occasion Darijan was supposed to meet a wealthy businessman from Macau and his wife. They were supposed to stay at one of Dubrovnik’s top boutique hotels. When they were met by Darijan the wife was not pleased at all. The husband explained to Darijan that she insisted to arrive to her hotel via the sea. Darijan was cool as a cucumber and said yes. He transferred the couple from Dubrovnik airport to Cavtat, took them to Cavtat’s top restaurant for a brunch and organized a sea transfer from Cavtat to this luxury hotel before you knew it.
So next time when you “meet me at the airport” do request to arrive to your hotel from Dubrovnik airport by a helicopter, Dubrovnik Luxury Travel team will ensure that your wish comes true.