Croatia’s famous coastal Dubrovnik city found in the interview.
Dubrovnik’s core economic activity, it 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 for us was a period of restart, which gave us time to rearrange, to rethink,” said Mato Franković, adding that the new projects aim to stabilize economic recovery after two years of significant losses.
Especially during the pandemic, the city focused on digital nomads – people whose jobs allow them to work remotely and at the same time like to travel and stay longer in destination.
“We saw the potential for Dubrovnik,” he said.
“Two years ago, we have organized 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 shooting in Dubrovnik.
“In 2021 alone, over 25 camera crews stayed here, most of them foreign, including the CNN Travel team’s ‘Quest’s World of Wonder’ TV show.”
Also, the City of Dubrovnik has prepared the project framework “DUBROVNIK”.
“It is designed as the entrepreneurial incubator, highly-equipped and specialized in the development of video games and the professionalization of filming in which companies can operate and make Dubrovnik even more recognizable on the gaming and film world scene,” Franković said.
The project should establish a special incubator business that will contribute to the development of the creative industry in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, focusing on the audiovisual and IT industry.
“This will contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of this sector of the economy and increasing employment. The complex would allow the rental of space, audiovisual equipment and teams, ”he said.
Supporting local food
Dubrovnik’s tradition has always been an integral part of the food industry.
“Even today in Dubrovnik you can find a variety of world cuisines […] we are still best known for traditional Mediterranean cuisine, where it works to encourage local family farms and supply chains, ”he said.
“We are lucky that in our environment, from Konavle, through the islands, Primorje, Pelješac peninsula and Neretva, we have quality farmers, producers, growers, whether we are talking about fruits and vegetables, excellent Peljesac and Konavle wines, Mali Ston oyster with protected designation of origin, ”he added.
Also, rural tourism is developing more and more in these areas, which is “an additional value to the tourist Dubrovnik”.
Digitization: Smart city solutions
Another aspect of Dubrovnik’s future is digitization and promotion. “Smart City” solutions to reduce congestion, protect the environment, and the city’s valuable monumental heritage.
The city has developed several applications in this regard.
“We have, for example, a web platform for predicting the number of visitors to the Dubrovnik Visitors Center, which with the help of artificial intelligence, predicts crowds in the historic center to the best time to visit ”.
There is also an application that covers all public parking spaces and provides an overview of free parking spaces.
“A total of 2,016 parking sensors were installed throughout the city, which is also the largest number of installed sensors in the world in one city. We have also installed webcams on Croatia to offer 100% electric car-sharing system service since October 2019, ”he said.
“These functions are based on the upgrading of public transport and in the environment,” he concluded.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alice Taylor]