As more and more cruise passengers flock to Dubrovnik in Croatia – one of the most popular attractions on the Adriatic Sea – a €26.5mn EBRD loan aims to help modernise Gruz Harbour to meet the growing demand.

The loan is part of a plan by the Dubrovnik Port Authority to upgrade its facilities. Basic infrastructure will be modernised, including expansion of berth capacity to accommodate as many as three of the new generation of 300m cruise ships at one time.

EBRD first vice-president Noreen Doyle, speaking at a signing ceremony in the city, said the project will allow Dubrovnik to burnish its already enviable position as one of the most popular destinations in the Mediterranean tourism market.

The bank’s investment in this public infrastructure will help create attractive business conditions for subsequent private-sector participation in the port’s development, Doyle added. The second phase of the development will involve construction of all the facilities a modern passenger port should have, such as a passenger terminal, parking spaces for cars, leisure and entertainment facilities and a shopping centre.

Vlaho Durkovic, manager of the Dubrovnik Port Authority, says the berth-extension investment is a crucial stage in the development of Dubrovnik as one of the must-see attractions in the Mediterranean area.
The EBRD support has also led to the mobilisation of grants from the UK, US, Spanish, Dutch and Italian governments to pay for consultancy assistance for different stages in the development’s preparation.

Dubrovnik is internationally known for its numerous monuments, and the historic Old town is classified by Unesco as a World Heritage site. Because of its rich array of history, culture beauty, climate and location between Greece and Venice, Dubrovnik is recognised as an ideal cruise port.
The development of the tourism industry is key for Croatia’s economic progress given the sector’s huge potential, and the authorities are confident they can make the country one of the leading tourism destinations in Europe.