Dubrovnik, Croatia, is a trendy travelling destination for the majority of tourists across the world. It is among the famous and widely known European countries that offer that host various people on vacation who come to the cost to seek its beauty. Even though the city is already already famous, the number of tourists in 2018 grew significantly due to the HBO TV series, Game of Thrones (GOT). Due to the city’s increased popularity and the number of tourists that visited at a particular time, the Mayor of Dubrovnik began to look for strategies and ways to effectively manage the increase in the number of tourists in the month of summer. Despite the many benefits that occur due to the increased tourist in the area, the beautiful landscape of Dubrovnik and its natural areas were at risk of being destroyed.
Tourism is among the growing economic factors in the world; according to Front (2017), in 2017, tourism comprised 13 Billion USD of the overall GDP (Gross Domestic Product), which is estimated to be 24% of Dubrovnik’s yearly total. GDP is the total worth of all goods and services finished for a particular year. Currently, the GDP of Dubrovnik can be categorized into three separate categories, Industry 34%, agriculture (3%), and services (63%) (Robinson, 2019). The percentages presented are according to how various sectors contributed to the economy of Dubrovnik. The services sector was the highest at 63%, directly related to the tourism industry. A SWOT analysis has been used to significantly offer an analysis of the growing concern presented by the Mayor and view Dubrovnik’s natural environment (Appendix A). After review, it was clear that Dubrovnik had various pre-existing attractions that increased the tourism industry. In addition to being named World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979, its economic dependency on Dubrovnik shifted to tourism. Initially, the increase in the tourism sector had a positive outcome. However, later as the TV series became popular, so did the tourism industry in Dubrovnik, resulting in environmental concern.
The primary issue presented is that Dubrovnik is being overwhelmed by the current increase in the number of people visiting the place and how much the place can sustain, therefore, resulting in environmental challenges. UNESCO even set a daily limit of 8000 to lower the amount of traffic experienced. In addition, to overcrowding worry, the European Environmental Agency has warned the town of the possible effect along the Mediterranean sea due to the increase in the number of tourists that visit the place. This combination can compromise the overall World Heritage status of Dubrovnik. With Game of Thrones increasing in popularity, the Mayor of Dubrovnik was introduced to an immediate increase in customer-perceived value (CPV). This increase is directly linked to the increase in population, affecting the image of Dubrovnik and other services and products that they offer, which is a significant reason why they are struggling with an increase in tourism. At first, Dubrovnik viewed the increase as an opportunity and therefore marketed it as such, and thus; as a result, Dubrovnik has generated increased value around this new, branded community by shifting its focus its market to GOT. Thus, various challenges are associated with it, which comprise;
1. Tourism increase has resulted in an increase in the cruise industry, leading to an increased concern for the environment. The higher number of cruise ships results in an ecological situation within the city.
2. Businesses are shifting their focus to GOT-themed products and guided tours instead of appreciating and promoting their historical artefacts. Engaging this long-term might not be outstanding after the hype associated with the series dies. It also encourages the notion that they want more tourists to visit the places where the popular TV series was filmed.
From the socio-cultural paradigm, the overcrowding currently experienced in Dubrovnik can result in severe distress among the local community and negatively impact the overall life quality of the inhabitants. In addition, overcrowding can result in theft issues, vandalism, unmanageable pollution and waste disposal. If a steady rise is experienced, it will lead to irreversible damage to the environment and cost the heritage and culture of Dubrovnik.
1. The initial demarketing response by the Mayor was to apply a 25% tourism tax during the busy months. This plan was to help the city reduce the number of people who visited the place due to the higher price tag of the services, making most of the services and products less affordable. The city, therefore, would still be able to promote and host tourism with a higher price tag. These, therefore, would result in a drastic decrease in the number of tourists who visited Dubrovnik during the peak season.
2. The Mayor can take it as a responsibility to work with the surrounding cities within Croatia to expand and promote the region’s popularity. This will help Dubrovnik by encouraging tourists to visit and explore other areas within Croatia, reducing the heavy traffic experienced through sensitive environmental areas experiencing an increased risk of irreversible damage.
3. By directly working with the Cruise Line International Association to reduce and ascertain that various cruise ships increase their arrival times, the immediate influx of cruise passengers can be better controlled and managed in a better way. Like other cruise ship destination ports, the Mayor can devise a fixed plan together with cruise directors. The only available method is for passengers to explore scenic natures offered by Dubrovnik only if they book a controlled, monitored, and guided tour organized by cruise staff. Taking this initiative and limiting the remaining passengers to only specific areas of Dubrovnik that can be easily monitored and controlled will reduce the amount of traffic being experienced, keeping the heritage status of Dubrovnik. This lowered daily traffic experience can further encourage the current tourist to extend their visit, therefore improving the profitability and facilitating lengthened duration of time through which tourists can spend sights, further reducing the traffic.
After reviewing the alternatives presented above, a decision matrix has been formulated to help design a proper, in-depth recommendation (see appendix B).
After the in-depth analysis of the three alternatives presented and a keen review of the matrix demonstrated, the third recommendation is the best and correct approach that should be initiated. This approach uses three different features that must be implemented in three phases. The initial phase of the recommendation is that Dubrovnik continues operating with the Cruise Line Association (CLA) to manage the arrival and docking of the cruise, therefore, staggering the short-term tourists. Second, after appropriate coordination is implemented, the Mayor can initiate the next step by working even closer with the CLA and creating excursions that will allow tourists to visit and explore Dubrovnik scenery and GOT-themed adventure. Lastly, after the completion of the first and the second implementation phase, the local inhabitants in Dubrovnik can shift their focus to long-tourists that are visiting for a couple of weeks, offering them a much more enjoyable experience. Through the implementation of the three above recommendations towards the overall reduction of traffic and congestion in Dubrovnik, it will result in the following;
1. Staggering the cruise ships and having them port at different times will reduce the unforeseen influx in the number of tourists that leave the cruise ships to explore the scenic features offered by Dubrovnik. The overall anticipation is that the number of people roaming around in a single area creating traffic will prevent tourists from changing their destination and exploring places they are not supposed to explore, damaging the surrounding environment.
2. Working closely with the CLA and generating tours and excursions that emphasize the region’s most popular areas will enable the Mayor to easily monitor and manage the number of people who visit Dubrovnik in controlled groups. It will ensure that tourists stay on a specific routine guided by a particular set of rules established to protect and maintain the sea, land, and heritage scenery.
3. Changing the focus to long-term tourists can lead to the tourists staying for longer days and, therefore, spending more on locally available products and services. By offering long-term guests a more interesting experience, they will be more motivated to share positive information with their families and friends, which could cause multiple trips.
As presented in the decision matrix in appendix B, this recommendation checks the majority of the boxes that allow Dubrovnik to capitalize on the increase in popularity. Monitoring and close management of the tourists will ensure a decrease in the number of theft cases being observed, and the overall tourist enjoyment is maintained and taken care of at all times. All while still keeping the heritage, nature, and the aquatic nature of Dubrovnik intact, in addition to eliminating the change of irreversible damage and the loss of their heritage status.
Already utilizes a strong tourism industry.
Dubrovnik was already well known for its many attractions before GOT
Very popular beach
Was labelled as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO
New jobs due to the increase of the potential market
Increase in GDP
Increased probability of receiving additional funds from the UNESCO
Large increase in the tourism industry
Fewer cruise ship capacity on ports
Tourist Tax (25%)
Risk of environmental damage
Increased tourism could have irreversible effects in the Mediterranean
Dubrovnik is starting to become a victim of its own success
Possibility of losing World Heritage Status
Robson, K. H. (2019). Game of Thrones: Tourism in Dubrovnik, Croatia. London, Ontario: Ivey Publishing.
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