Miro Drašković
Dubrovnik Tourist BoardMiro Drašković

Meet Miro Drašković, new director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board

Sustainable tourism, year-round events and expanding the city's offer are the focus for the incoming director

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Time Out contributors
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Dubrovnik is Croatia’s jewel in the crown as far as tourism is concerned. Now the city’s Tourist Board has a new director, Miro Drašković, who tells Time Out Croatia about his plans to revive the industry post-pandemic – and how locals are very much part of the strategy.

Can you tell our readers something about yourself and your background?

I was born in Dubrovnik and I’ve spent practically all my life in the area. Like most locals on the Croatian coast, I started working in tourism very early on, already at high school. My long-running interest in foreign languages enabled me to take different jobs in the industry – in the end, I chose to work at a destination management company (DMC). After graduating from Dubrovnik University, I spent a year and a half working at a DMC in Prague, which really was very valuable experience that helped me in essentially building my confidence to continue growing professionally.

Miro Drašković
Dubrovnik Tourist BoardMiro Drašković

How do you evaluate the effects of the pandemic on the local tourist industry?

The pandemic severely affected all our lives as well as the industry. The Dubrovnik area lives practically entirely from tourism and, from a business point of view, of course, for the locals in the past two years, everything changed for the worse. On the other hand, our private lives thrived, we had more time for our families and although the economic effects of the pandemic were harsh, we proved that we were very resilient in successfully overcoming the crisis. Now we are ready for a fresh start.

How do you think Dubrovnik can best regain the kind of trade and traffic it had before 2020? Do you think, as some locals do, that the city might need to approach tourism in a different way? Thinking specifically of cruise-ship visitors.

The city has been changing its attitude to this business for some years now, with the introduction of the Respect the City project, which puts in focus the inhabitants of the city as well as the city itself. Dubrovnik has the capacity to reach the numbers we had before 2020, but with the measures imposed by the city, not only for cruise-ship visitors, but in general, we are sure that we are going to manage these numbers better than in the years before the implementation of this project started.

Miro Drašković
Dubrovnik Tourist BoardMiro Drašković

Dubrovnik will never again become overcrowded with tourists the way it was before 2017. Quality is being put in focus, on all levels, from the services we have been providing to our clients, to the quality of life of locals, who are the essential component of the further development of the city and tourism as well.

I understand that your predecessor was keen on promoting tourism away from the Old Town, which suffers from overcrowding in summer, highlighting the attractions of Gruž, Lapad and so on. Are you keen on continuing this initiative – and, if so, how?

Yes, the Tourist Board will definitely continue this initiative, as the dispersion itself is also a part of the Respect the City project. Our premise is: it is not about the numbers, it is about the flow. There are parts of town which are worth visiting, where different types of natural beauty, gastronomic experiences, sporting or cultural initiatives are very interesting. These parts of town and the events there deserve to be presented to tourists arriving in Dubrovnik. In that way, they will gain yet another perspective of this beautiful town.

Dubrovnik, Adriatic, sea, more
Matthias Mullie / UnsplashDubrovnik

What can visitors look forward to in Dubrovnik this summer?

A number of cultural events are already ongoing, such as Midsummer Scene Dubrovnik, while the Ponta Lopud festival, numerous concerts and sporting events have been staged since May. Central to everything, of course, is the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. We also organise a number of concerts and parties in all parts of the city, aimed at locals, but these are also popular with tourists as they appreciate the chance to experience them with locals and get to know our way of life. The autumn is marked by our Good Food Festival which, after two lean years, will again reach its full capacity and will again become the central event of that part of the year. We finish the year with the Dubrovnik Winter Festival and the New Year’s party with events that will surely attract not only locals, but also tourists in December – as well as the many digital nomads whom we have been welcoming to Dubrovnik over the past two years.

Have you had time to consider any long-term plans for tourism in the city?

I need to mention the Respect the City project again as it really encompasses sustainable tourism that we want to achieve it here. Co-operation between all stakeholders in the tourism industry is crucial, including City of Dubrovnik, the port authorities, Tourist Board, cruise companies, citizens... Only with good management of visitors can we get to the point where both locals and visitors will be fully content with everything Dubrovnik has to offer for both short-term visitors and the people living in the magnificent town of ours.

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