Dubrovnik Passenger Arrivals Down to 1969 Levels

Dubrovnik passenger arrivals have dropped to levels not seen since 1969 as the corona crisis continues to create havoc in the tourism industry.

Modern-day low

According to a report in the Dubrovnik Times, only 306,949 travellers arrived at Dubrovnik Airport from January until the end of September. To put it into comparison, a year earlier 2.5 million passengers arrived at the airport in those first nine months of 2019.

In 2019 Dubrovnik Airport almost managed to welcome 3 million arrivals. That year even had five individual months which had more passenger arrivals than the first nine months of 2020 combined.

The online publication reported that the last time numbers were this low was the year 1969. In modern times only the years when the wars in Yugoslavia were raging and Dubrovnik was under siege saw even lower tourist numbers.

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An Olympic Air Dash 8-400 at Dubrovnik Airport. ©Paliparan

Corona crisis

The numbers do not exactly come as a surprise as previously Greece and Spain posted similar shocking numbers, with the Hellenic Republic even posting an 85% decline in tourist numbers.

As COVID19 continues to create havoc in a number of countries and with many entry restrictions in place, it is doubtful that countries such as Croatia, Greece and Spain can improve their numbers in the last three months of 2020.

I wouldn’t be shocked if the final passenger arrival numbers of 2020 will end up being even more disappointing, as I can’t imagine that October, November and December will see greater tourist numbers than the last three months of 2019.

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Dubrovnik. ©Paliparan


If you do not have any travel plans for the remainder of the year you should really consider a trip to support the tourist industry if you have the opportunity.

It will not only be of great support of local communities, but you are likely to have an unparalleled once-in-a-lifetime experience.

When I visited Dubrovnik in March I was shocked at how empty the city was. Normally, Dubrovnik is overcrowded with tourists which means that in summer you walk shoulder to shoulder in the old town streets.

The city has always been a tourist magnet, but crowds became quite unbearable in the last years thanks to the popularity of Game of Thrones and the rise in cruise ships navigating the Adriatic Sea.

Whether it’s Dubrovnik, Prague, Rome or Santorini, touristy places all over the world have never been this empty in modern times. If you want to experience such famous places with only a handful of other tourists and some locals around you, now is the time.

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In a normal year you would walk shoulder to shoulder with other tourists on Dubrovnik’s main street of Stradun. This year? It’s rather empty. ©Paliparan

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Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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