DUBROVNIK, Croatia—The Croatian town of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and picturesque coastal resort on the Adriatic, is at risk of being overwhelmed by visitors from the cruise ships that arrive daily.
Between January and June, almost 280,000 tourists from 188 cruise tours visited the 800-year-old city. Last year, a whopping 749,000 people disembarked from 539 cruise ships that moored in Dubrovnik’s harbor.
Shopkeepers, restaurateurs, and the 1,500 locals that live in the Old City—an area inside the coastal fort that featured in the TV series “Game of Thrones”—struggled to serve the crowds of guests.
Last year, UNESCO warned that Dubrovnik’s world heritage status was at risk due to the huge number of tourists “in regard to the sustainable carrying capacity of the city” and the management of the cruise ships pulling in.
To counter the problem, the city in 2017 introduced its “Respect The City” plan aimed at limiting the number of tourists from cruises visiting the Old Town to 4,000 at any given moment.
According to official data, more than 4.2 million people have spent at least one night in Dubrovnik so far in 2018, 14 percent more than last year.
By Antonio Bronic & Aleksandar Vasovic