This morning I have red an interesting article in Croatian daily newspapers “Jutarnji list” which quite rightly examines the opportunities in congress tourism. Interestingly enough it is Croatia’s most photographed city of Rovinj which comes on the top of the list. Rovinj has a capacity to host some 20 000 business delegates and it is his proximity to five international airports that makes him popular with the businesspeople from around the world. Next on the list is the Croatian business most favorite: Opatija which is close to Rijeka and is also quite well connected via the motorway with the capital Zagreb. However, I have learnt myself a new “hotspot” word which is Green Riviera, in other words Zagorje region hills which not only offer the opportunities in congress but also in wellness tourism. Add to that sporting activities and gastro-enology offer of Zagorje region, proximity of four Middle Ages renovated castles, ideal for banqueting and incentives, this could be a right new hotspot for the business visitors. But others as well, all those tourists who seek quiet, relaxing breakaway weekends in one of Zagorje wellness centers and “termes”. Not being far away from the capital Zagreb is yet another advantage why people would choose this region.
Coming back to the Adriatic coast again, Sibenik is stealing the limelight of the congress tourism industry and its favorite hotspot of Vodice.
Last but not the least, it is Dubrovnik and that picturesque hamlet of Cavtat and it is Adriatic Luxury Hotel’s Croatia who is an absolute leader in the congress tourism branch in the area with the capacity to host some 1200 delegates. Proximity of the new Tuscany; Konavle region which offers a great deal when it comes to sporting and incentive activities such as biking, quadding, four wheel vehicles driving or simply lounging back in one of its traditional cuisine restaurants and sipping your “vino” and enjoying your food, “peka” being my favorite.
The author of this article is Srđ Portolan, a founding member of Intercon Group of Companies, a board director at Spes Real Estate and Dubrovnik Luxury Travel.
Recently a client of ours insisted on booking Villa Victoria for the end of May 2015. As it may have been expected it was fully booked. My guess was that the views and the value for money price were determinants when it came for opting out to rent Villa Victoria. And there is one view in particular that intrigues the visitors of Dubrovnik, that of island of Lokrum. So you may wonder what on heck has this island to do with Canary islands and Mexico. Well the story starts in 1203 when the island of Lokrum became official domicile of Benedictine monks who cared for it until 1808 when they were forced off the island. As they were leaving Lokrum, they circled it and the curse on any future owner of the island. The Latin saying inscribed over the entrance to the abbey says: Small things create harmony, big things disharmony and this was the case for archduke Maximilian, the brother of the Austrian and Hungarian king Franz Joseph who acquired the island in 1859 and built himself a residence as an extension to the abbey with immaculately designed gardens. He brought on the island a family of peacocks from Canary islands. As he was declared the Emperor of Mexico he met a tragic end being shot by Zapatta revolutionaries. In the meantime the island was inherited by his wife Charlotte who in the meantime was declared insane. Her brother Belgian king Leopold II ensured that Austrian princess Elizabeth gets the island after his nephew committed suicide.
In 1959 the island became natural reserve with a rare species of cactus trees, eucalyptuses, magnolias, agaves being plated there from Australia and South America.
What is interesting to note that no visitor is allowed to sleep on the island during the visiting season which lasts from April to November. The island is reachable in the 15 minutes ferry ride from Dubrovnik Old city port.
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 poslovni.hr ). 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:
When the cult series The Game of Thrones was filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia, yes folks you have heard it right, The Game of Thrones was filmed in Dubrovnik to the delight of many locals who made some extra “bob” appearing in the series as extras. But to my disappointment, Dubrovnik Luxury travel did not manage to sponsor the series. Just joking here as I know that Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the city major welcomed the production house HBO as we are all aware and most certainly proud that our town was chosen as the set location and that of the benefits that the filming would bring to the tourism industry in Croatia and that would once again put Dubrovnik on the world map of must visit destinations.
However, there is another map I want to talk about, equally important as it involves one English king. That is of course Dubrovnik Luxury Travel Treasure Hunt map. This team building exercise is a clever invention of the guy who happens to be the owner of the boat rental agency in Dubrovnik, called Exclusive Charter Dubrovnik. Zlatko or Zlaja is so passionate about team building that he invented this unique team building exercise, Dubrovnik Treasure Hunt and he got involved professional actors from Dubrovnik Theatre Company so that the team building treasure hunters get even greater pleasure in this intriguing game. Dubrovnik Luxury travel was more than honoured when Zlaja chose this company to co-operate so that Dubrovnik Luxury travel became exclusive provider of this service.
I am almost certain that Zlaja lived in Dubrovnik Old town in his previous life as the head of one of Dubrovnik families who succeeded to persuade Richard the Lion Heart to build Dubrovnik’s second cathedral. Now where does island of Lokrum fit into this story. Well, my dear team building treasure hunters or for that matter families and friends who are visiting Dubrovnik, book Dubrovnik Luxury Travel Treasure Hunt to learn more. Dubrovnik Luxury travel guarantees you bundle of fun in this “ Game of Thrones”