Q: Residents of Šibenik admire you for your presence in all of the Šibenik’s happenings. From diving to clean the sea bottom, picking up trash from Šibenik’s surroundings to all other possible events, you are there. What does Šibenik mean to you?
That is simply who I am. I am by nature an adventurer and I am much more of an operative rather than an administrative person. I love my town and I gladly participate in anything that contributes to its improvement.
Q: I mentioned Šibenik residents … What kind of people are they?
Šibenik is a relatively small environment and most of us know each other. Šibenik people are still mostly conservative but good hosts and they are happy people full of life and distinct sarcastic humor. Interpersonal joking and friendly insulting is the specificity of this milieu.
Q: The summer season 2017 was extremely successful for Šibenik. What do you think contributed to a growing number of tourists? What are the main attractions?
The number of tourists in accommodation facilities has been around 10% higher than last year. But more important achievement is that we became interesting for tourists who take daily trips to Šibenik from neighboring towns. Through numerous cultural and historical contents, quality manifestations, and exceptional natural surroundings (two National parks), we became a recognizable and necessary destination.
Q: What is the plan for the Šibenik’s tourism and recognition in the future? Aren’t you afraid Šibenik could suffer under the same mass tourism that suffocates Dubrovnik and Split? And, after all, how does Šibenik differs from these two competitors?
Up until the early 90’s war, we were exclusively industrial town and only a transit destination so we entered into the tourism industry pretty late. Therefore, I think, we still have a lot of time to learn from the mistakes of others how to escape the trap of mass tourism. We do have historical, cultural and natural attributes to attract tourists, however, in order to achieve a high price and escape the mass, we need to work on a high quality of our overall offer as well as of all tourism services.
Q: You are planning lots of renovations in Šibenik. But most interestingly, Šibenik is planning to build a city cable car. Could you tell me more about this?
Šibenik has four medieval fortresses of which two have been renovated, while the renovation of the St.John’s fortress is now in progress. Since Šibenik’s densely populated layout stretches over several hills and mounds, the best way to connect the fortresses would be with a cable car; particularly for the access roads to the fortresses are narrow and inadequate. The plan is to build an escalator from the sea level to the St.Michael’s fortress from where the cable care would then take towards the St.John’s and Barone’s fortresses. The project is realistically achievable in the next four to five years. With this cable, we would get a world attraction.
Q: Šibenik has this year hosted the first Changer Meetup. What is this event about?
Festival Changer has been so far the largest manifestation ever taking place in Šibenik and at the same time co-organised by us, the Šibenik Tourist Board. The goal of the festival was to create a festival following the model of the Varaždin Špancir fest, the largest and programmewise the most diverse festival in Croatia. Šibenik’s Changer Meetup consisted of music, street art, multimedia, playground and children’s programme, the conference part, as well as of food & fun part. I think we managed to prepare a good product, for throughout the festival days the town was full of tourists, young people, and excellent energy.
Q: Convention Centre Šibenik opened in May 2017 and it is not just the biggest Convention Centre in Croatia, but even the biggest in Adriatic. How do you see the impact of the Convention Centre on Šibenik?
We are thrilled to have such a huge and high-quality facility that will in long-term change the Šibenik’s destination image. The guests at the Convention Centre are looking for the interaction with the town and its potential. This means that Šibenik properly responds to wishes of congress guests and this is personally the most important to me.
Q: What would the prolonging of the tourist season to the whole year mean for Šibenik? How is Šibenik planning to attract the congress tourism into the Convention Centre?
The Convention Centre’s all year round activities will definitely break the sesonality. Besides the top-notch quality of the centre itself and Solaris in general, Šibenik as a destination abounds with attractions and contents that will attract tourists directly to us. Our trump is the relatively small space perfectly blending together the natural and historical heritage. Namely, in a circle of around 30 km, we possess two Unesco’s monuments and two National parks. Counting in our gastronomic scene, manifestations, festivals and space for active tourism, I can easily say that we have a great racehorse.
Q: I heard it through the grapevine that your lifelong dream came true recently. For the first time, you attended the Rolling Stones concert. What is that what makes Rolling Stones so special for you?
I had been several times in towns where they had a concert, but I had never managed to get the ticket for they were either sold out or too expensive. This time I finally got the opportunity and maybe it was even the last opportunity because who knows if the Stones will ever have another tour. One hundred thousand people gathered in Austrian Spielberg’s mud where the old guys had a top-quality concert. In every case, unforgettable! Maybe there have been better musicians than them, but I have been loving them since high school for already that time they were special and different from other bands.