Dubrovnik to cut cruise ship and tourist visitor numbers

New mayor in bid to protect city from damaging overcrowding

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Dubrovnik to cut cruise ship and tourist visitor numbers

Dubrovnik is taking steps to ensure that the number of tourists visiting its ancient centre is drastically cut in a bid to protect its appeal.

The Medieval centre is a Unesco World Heritage site, and Unesco recommends that only 8,000 people a day be permitted inside the walls. However, the city aims to cap the numbers to 4,000 visitors a day.

See also: Ibiza and Majorca introduce new laws to curb mass tourism

See also: Venice asks tourists not to linger on bridges or swim in canals


Mayor Mato Franković said the move was to limit the unchecked growth the city has seen in day trippers and cruise passengers visiting. According to the Telegraph, he said: "We don't want to go with the maximum, we want to go lower than that."

The mayor wants to cut the number of cruise ships arriving at peak times over the weekend, and impose limits on the number of day trips organised by tour operators.

He said that from 8am to 2pm, there could be six big cruise ships coming in, creating overcrowding and congestion. Some critics suggest that at peak times it can take 40 minutes to walk the Stradun, the city's 300-metre walkway. The mayor believes that cutting the number of big ships will offer a better quality experience to tourists.

"I am not here to make people happy but to make the quality of life [in the city] better," he said. "Some of the cruise lines will disagree with what I'm saying but my main goal is to ensure quality for tourists and I cannot do it by keeping the situation as it is."

Hundreds of cruise ships arrive at the port two miles from the Old Town. In 2016, 529 ships stopped there, bringing 799,916 passengers, up from 475 in 2015 and 463 in 2014.

The mayor wants to prevent the city from becoming a victim of its own beauty with damaging overcrowding. The situation has been seen in other cities like Venice and Barcelona, where a tourist backlash has seen protests in the streets.

Indeed, just this week the regional Balearic government has passed strict new laws in a bid to limit the number of holidaymakers to its islands.

The huge number of tourists heading to Majorca and Ibiza in the summer months has sparked frustration and a backlash among locals.

According to The Local, the number of tourist beds will be capped at a combined 623,624 on both islands and those who attempt to rent out unlicensed properties could be fined up to €400,000.

Over in Spain's San Sebastián, an anti-tourism march is planned for 17 August to coincide with Semana Grande – a major festival of Basque culture, reports the Guardian.

And last month, Venice - which has 20 million visitors a year with only 55,000 residents - saw 2,000 locals march through the streets in protest at huge cruise ships coming in and negatively effecting the city's environment.

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