There are so many tourists in Dubrovnik, new restaurants could be banned for 5 years

Nov 8, 2019

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There’s this little show called “Game of Thrones” you might have heard about.

And, because it was filmed in Croatia, tourism to this European country along the Adriatic has absolutely exploded. In fact, the ancient port city of Dubrovnik welcomed an unprecedented 1,271,657 visitors in 2018, according to MSN.

Last summer, UNESCO warned that city officials need to consider the “sustainable carrying capacity” of the city, thanks to the deluge of foot traffic from cruise ships in particular. The year before that, Mato Franković, the mayor of Dubrovnik, limited the number of visitors who could be in the city’s Old Town at any given time. He also requested that cruise operators help stagger arrivals and departures.

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This year, though, he’s taking it a step further. He already closed down 80% of souvenir stands and reduced outdoor restaurant tables by 20%. Earlier this week, “the city council voted to cut the number of outdoor seating options by another 10%”, noted MSN.

And, next month, Franković and the city council will vote on yet another proposal: Prohibiting restaurant owners from putting any new outdoor tables or chairs down for the next five years. Essentially, such a regulation would mean there wouldn’t be any new restaurants opening up in that time frame. That’s because, as CNN reported, about 99% of restaurants “work mainly with outside tables”.

If the proposal passes, a new venture would not be able to take over the space of a would-be closed restaurant during the five-year period. While the measures may seem a little extreme, they’re all being considered in hopes of helping tourists see things other than, well, other tourists during their trip.

Just don’t let this steer you away from a trip there. Croatia is an absolutely beautiful country and should be on every traveler’s to-do list. And there are plenty of national parks and cities all around Croatia that don’t see nearly as many tourists as Dubrovnik.

Featured image Callum Hyland Photography/Getty Images.

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