Surveillance video cameras have been installed at each of the five entrances to Dubrovnik’s Old Town, so that authorities can keep track of how many people enter the popular historic walled-town area.
Unesco has recommended that there should be no more than 8000 people at any one time in Dubrovnik’s Old Town, which has been on the Unesco World Heritage list since 1979. According to the city’s mayor Andro Vlahušić, ‘it is estimated that more than 8000 people in the Old City is too dangerous, and when that number of visitors is reached we will take measures to divert traffic.’ The million-kuna crowd project to keep visitor numbers under control is called ‘Forget the crowds, respect the rules and information’.
As long as there are fewer than 6000 people in the walled Old Town, visitors are free to come and go as they please. Once visitor numbers hit 6000, measures will be put in place to slow down crowds. As soon as visitor numbers hit 8000, additional visitors will begin to be turned away. Tourists who have purchased the Dubrovnik City Card or registered their arrival at least a day in advance will be given priority access to the city. Unannounced guests and those on organised tours will be turned away until visitor numbers drop below 8000 again.
Although January is traditionally a quiet time for tourism in Dubrovnik, the city’s authorities are keen to get systems in place now, so that they are ready for the influx of tourists that arrives each summer. 2016 was a record year for tourism in the city, with over one million visitors, a 12% increase on 2015. The beautiful coastal city in Croatia has received a major tourism boost since 2011, when producers of the popular TV series Game of Thrones selected it as a filming location. It has also seen a boom in the number of visiting cruise ships in recent years.