In mid-September this year, the 12th session of the Tourist Board of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board was held.
The current course of the tourist season was discussed at the session, and the Destination Management Plan and guidelines for the development of the work program of tourist boards were presented. This is a study prepared by the specialized company Horwath HTL, and in accordance with the guidelines of the Tourism Development Strategy in the context of compliance with the provisions of the package of tourism laws adopted by the Government of the Republic of Croatia.
One of the main conclusions of the Plan is that in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County the Tourist Boards should unite in four main clusters, in order to ensure the best possible promotion of the tourist product, brand and / or destination and the use of funds from the Fund. Tourist boards that have grouped and operate together on the market, point out the Tourist Board of Dubrovnik County.
According to this recommendation, the clusters would be the area of Dubrovnik (with Mljet), the Neretva valley, Pelješac and Korčula (with Lastovo).
The prefect of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Nikola Dobroslavić, welcomed this initiative, saying that it is a way to better promote the destination as a whole and pointed out that in this way those small tourist boards that should be abolished under current conditions will be preserved.
He announced that he would soon discuss this with the mayors and mayors and acquaint them with the arguments in favor of such a recommendation, ie association.
Although the general public does not yet know all the details, I am personally surprised why Dubrovnik-Neretva County is not directly connected to Dubrovnik as a global destination. Especially in practice. On the other hand, the Ston walls were just built by the Republic of Dubrovnik, thus further emphasizing the wider story of the same. Also, the development of the Dubrovnik-Neretva region must certainly rely on the future development of Dubrovnik, because it is a global tourist magnet. So, Dubrovnik would have to lead the story, and the rest of the county would lean on Dubrovnik and that would be a win-win for everyone.
An excellent similar example is the project Around Zagreb, where the Zagreb Tourist Board and the Zagreb County Tourist Board joined forces in a long-term project. And it is a win-win for both sides, both for the Zagreb Tourist Board and the Tourist Board, and mostly for tourists and visitors, both domestic and foreign. So far, the Zagreb Green Ring has not managed to position itself towards the Zagreb market, which is a logical link, and so Zagreb has not realized the potential of quality offer in its surroundings, only 30 minutes from the center of Zagreb. In addition to a better quality of life for the citizens of Zagreb, in the domain of daily or weekend visitors, all tourists who come to Zagreb would also have an excellent, more diverse and quality offer. Tourism knows no borders.
It was in that article that I mentioned how Dubrovnik, and even the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, can learn a lot from the mentioned example. So let’s repeat the gals thinking.
Personally, I think that Dubrovnik should brand or sell the entire area around the city. Use your financial and communication power as well as the power of the brand to just spread the story to the entire region. From Ston (Ston walls are the second largest walls after the Great Wall of China, this is the story of the Dubrovnik Republic, it has a top delicacy - oysters), Peljesac (indigenous and top wine variety Dingač) Korcula (island of Marco Polo) Mljet, Neretva Valley, etc.… because that top and quality content that Dubrovnik needs.
In order to prolong the stay, increase tourist spending, reduce overtourism (because in seven days every guest would certainly come to Dubrovnik for one day - smart and strategic tourism) and most importantly increase the overall experience of tourists throughout the destination. But unfortunately Dubrovnik is "soloing", looking only at itself, and not seeing the bigger picture. At the same time it "drowns" in its own mud ( overtourism ) which he created himself, just because there was no vision, courage and strategic development of the destination's tourism. The Around Zagreb project is a great example and story from which Dubrovnik can learn a lot. I sincerely hope so.
Dubrovnik Tourist Board website - what to do in Dubrovnik for 3 or 7 days?
On the website Dubrovnik Tourist Board, as seen above in the picture, provides information on what to do in Dubrovnik for 3 or 7 days, as well as the top 10 sights. No article (except the Elaphite Islands) contains any letters from the content outside Dubrovnik. In general, for the content on the front page that attracts attention, (the three mentioned articles) give extremely bad information, without any additional content and connection with attractions, especially the article on what to do for seven days in Dubrovnik. It is better not to have them, than to have unfinished articles like this that give a frivolous picture.
Precisely such content is ideal for redirecting tourists to the entire DN County area. Only the memory of Ston and the Ston walls (I note, they were built by the Republic of Dubrovnik) and other video and photo content would direct guests to experience that part of the Republic of Dubrovnik. And to additionally emphasize Ston oysters, top quality dingač wine, picking mandarins in the Neretva valley, etc.… the story is only spreading. This is exactly the key role of Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is the head of the stars of our tourism and that is why the criteria and expectations are extremely high, as well as the responsibility to show the right path.
In mid-2017, the Dubrovnik-Neretva County presented a new visual identity of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board, ie the destination - Dubrovnik riviera
Interestingly, in the original idea of the accepted work of the Prospekt team ( The story behind the new identity of the Dubrovnik County Tourist Board ) at the request of the Tourist Board of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board, the original name / slogan “Dubrovnik & AROUND", on "Dubrovnik riviera“While the visuals remained the same.
But what is important is that the whole story was related to Dubrovnik, which is crucial, although in my opinion it has never been the same and realized on the market in the true sense. Also, the website of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board is visitdubrovnik.hr which makes it clear that it is connected to Dubrovnik, but again, it imputes more that it is a page of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, and not the county.
On the other hand, Dubrovnik still does not know where it is going and what its vision of development is. It would certainly be smart and strategically sustainable, if there was a clear synergy between Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. This and next year is the right time to think and define new development strategies, both our tourism, and Dubrovnik and the County, so I hope that under the leadership of the new director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, just go that route and know where to see in 5 and 10 year. Although I have to admit, in this extraordinary year, the mayor of Dubrovnik completely took over the baton of the tourist office, which is a floor-length hat for him personally, while the new director did not really cope with this crisis situation, at least in my opinion. But here's an opportunity for a "correction" and, as always, the best judgment will be given by local tourism entrepreneurs. However, absolutely everyone must be in synergy and support, make themselves available and unite knowledge and experience in one place under the auspices of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. Two heads are always smarter than one, and as always, two are needed for a tango.
In conclusion, it is commendable that there is awareness as well as an initiative for synergy and association in multiple brands or sub-brands. The new one is definitely responsible for that Law on Tourist Boards and Promotion of Croatian Tourism, but in my opinion there should have been much more courage and determination of MINT in writing the same. In the context of simply defining natural and logical wholes through regions, ie tourist brands, primarily in the domain of market reason, and not to leave space, as now, that TZs may or may not merge. This is how we waste time and money, and it is quite clear to everyone that the reform of the tourist system is inevitable. It is clear to everyone how the system does not work, even to colleagues within the system itself. This by nature does not mean that all tourist boards have to shut down, but certainly we do not need 313 tourist boards as many as there are now.
By the way, the new Act provides for a Fund for Associated Tourist Boards, which enables more transparent financing of both regional and local tourist boards in underdeveloped tourist areas, and encourages the association of tourist boards. As an incentive for association, 2 percent is provided in membership fees and tourist fees for projects and programs of associated tourist boards. Due to the current corona crisis, the whole story has been put on hold, and according to unofficial information, there are currently 10 association projects underway and awaiting a statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
On the other hand, it is not the form that matters, but the content, ie the efficiency and productivity of the system. We need bold moves, primarily market-based in accordance with the 21st century, and not populism in the context of the announcement that 50 tourist boards of small municipalities will allegedly be shut down. This is certainly not a reform of the system.
Although it is for expert discussion, I personally think that we must brand regions as brands (Istria, Slavnia, Dalmatia…) because it is by all the rules of today's modern tourism development. But more on that on another occasion. We all fight for the attention of every guest in the global market competition. Either we play the game or not, let’s not whine later if we don’t want market development. It's all up to us / you, because it is the destinations themselves that ultimately develop tourism in their backyard, not MINT, CNTB or someone else.
Like the cover photo, it shows figuratively. Synergy and view of four clusters towards Dubrovnik, if vice versa. Together they are stronger.
The people of Dubrovnik realized early on that being a small country is an advantage in international politics and that the position between the West and the Orient is not a curse, but a blessing that can be cashed in, Božo Skoko pointed out in his article: 14 lessons that Croatia must learn from the Republic of Dubrovnik and added that we can learn a lot from the Republic, how everyone loves Lijepa and ours (as the Croatian designer Boris LJubičić says), and especially the people of Dubrovnik.
As always, those who are proactive, creative, innovative and primarily those involved in market development will develop. I hope that both Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik-Neretva County will take this path, because they have absolutely all the prerequisites.
Cover photo: leifschannel, Pixabay.com