Pandemic has spawned new ideas for Dubrovnik’s future –

The famous coastal city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, aims to promote diversified forms of tourism and support local gastronomy through family farming to adapt to the post-pandemic reality, the city’s mayor has told EURACTIV. Croatia in an interview.

He said that tourism, Dubrovnik’s main economic activity, will also adapt to the new reality by focusing on diversified forms, such as digital nomads and film tourism.

“The time of the COVID crisis was for us a period of restarting, which gave us time to reorganize, to rethink,” said Mato Franković, adding that the new projects aim to stabilize the economic recovery after two years. significant losses.

Especially during the pandemic, the city has focused on digital nomads – people whose jobs allow them to work remotely and at the same time like to travel and stay longer in one destination.

“We saw Dubrovnik’s potential,” he said.

“Two years ago, we held a conference for digital nomads, followed by several other events and launched initiatives to be included in the TOP 10 Savills Real Estate Executive Nomad List. In this sense, Dubrovnik has a lot to offer, especially in the months outside the main tourist season,” he noted.

Another type of tourism that proved to be good during the pandemic was film tourism. In the midst of the crisis, in September and October 2020, three film production companies were filming in Dubrovnik.

“In 2021 alone, over 25 film crews stayed here, mostly foreigners, including the crew from CNN Travel’s ‘Quest’s World of Wonder’ TV show.”

In addition, the city of Dubrovnik has prepared the framework for the project “Complex of television and film studios and game development center DUBROVNIK”.

“It is designed as an entrepreneurial, highly equipped and specialized incubator in the development of video games and the professionalization of filming in which companies of this profile would operate and make Dubrovnik even more recognizable on the world scene of games and cinema”, said said Frankovic.

The project is expected to establish a specialized business incubator that will contribute to the development of the creative industry in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, focusing on the audiovisual and IT industry.

“This will help strengthen the competitiveness of this sector of the economy and increase employment. The complex would allow the rental of spaces, audiovisual equipment and teams,” he said.

Support local food

Gastronomy and the catering industry have always been an integral part of Dubrovnik’s tradition, and the mayor said this will continue by supporting locally produced food.

“Although today in Dubrovnik you can find a diverse offer of world cuisines […] we are even better known for traditional Mediterranean cuisine, where the quality of food is the basis of the whole story and in this sense, we work to encourage family farms and local supply chains”, he added. he declares.

“We are lucky that in our environment, from Konavle, via the islands, Primorje, the Pelješac peninsula and the Neretva, we have quality farmers, producers, horticulturists, whether it is fruit and vegetables, excellent wines from Peljesac and Konavle, oysters from Mali Ston with protected designation of origin,” he added.

Also, rural tourism is developing more and more in these areas, which is “an added value to the tourist offer of Dubrovnik”.

Digitization: smart city solutions

Another aspect of Dubrovnik’s future is digitization and promotion. “Smart City” solutions to reduce traffic jams, protect the environment and the city’s precious monumental heritage.

The city has developed several applications in this regard.

“We have, for example, a web platform to predict the number of visitors in the historic center of Dubrovnik Visitors, which with the help of artificial intelligence predicts the crowds in the historic center on a date and a precise part of the day and directs visitors to the best time to visit”.

There’s also smart parking, an app that covers all public parking spaces and provides an overview of free parking spaces so you don’t have to drive around the car looking for a free space unnecessarily.

“A total of 2,016 parking sensors have been installed in the city’s parking spaces, which is also the highest number of sensors installed of this technology in the world in a single city. We have also installed webcams on the city’s roads, and we are the first city in Croatia to offer a 100% electric car-sharing system service since October 2019,” he said.

“It works as a public transport upgrade and in an environmentally friendly way, without noise or harmful emissions, helps relieve the transport infrastructure of the city,” he concluded.

[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alice Taylor]

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