February the 24th, 2022 – A plan to bring down the sometimes insufferable crowds in busy Croatian tourist destinations is currently in the works as hopes for a good summer and an even better epidemiological picture this year grow.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, busy Croatian tourist destinations that want to reduce tourist crowds and make life easier for residents and visitors alike will soon have a so-called ”heat map” or destination control panel, a tool that measures the concentration of tourists in a particular place in real time.

The tool was developed as part of a European project in which the Croatian Institute of Tourism is also participating, and last summer it was tested out by the very busy cities of Venice, Bari, Ferrara, Sibenik and, unsurprisingly when it comes to crowding issues – the City of Dubrovnik.

Cameras and sensors

“Tourist movement data is made available in real time thanks to the cameras and sensors installed exclusively for this purpose in each of the partner cities. The collected data provides an opportunity for users of the destination control panel, such as local authorities, tourist boards, etc., to make short-term forecasts of tourist movements, and accordingly make appropriate decisions that directly affect the relief of city centres and cultural heritage sites, redirecting tourists to less visited parts of a given city,” the Institute of Tourism explained.

The heat map to control busy Croatian tourist destinations is one of the tools developed within the Interreg project S.LI.DES. (Smart strategies for sustainable tourism in Lively cultural DEStinations), which is being implemented until June this year with a budget of 2.5 million euros attached to it.

The project holder is the Ca ’Foscari University of Venice, and the Institute of Tourism is one of the ten partners in the project. In addition to the system for monitoring the movement of tourists, the project has developed a prototype system for analysing various aspects of heritage management, those related to identifying the potential of intangible cultural heritage in various destinations.

According to the Institute, based on the results collected during the pilot actions, the partner cities will plan a joint strategy aimed at encouraging the sustainable development of urban spaces. All of the project’s results will be made publicly available and applicable in other interested tourist destinations, especially destinations that struggle with the problem of excessive tourism and congestion in city cores during the high tourism season.

A series of innovative events

Dino Karadjole, the director of the Sibenik Tourist Board, explained how the pilot project was carried out. “The pilot conducted in Sibenik in the summer of 2021 was organised through eight Thursdays in July and August. We had a number of various innovative events where we promoted tangible and intangible cultural heritage, workshops, screenings of a short film, a guided tour called ”Stories from Sibenik’s cuisine”, trade fairs and art evenings.

On top of that, we tried out giving some of the partner institutions, such as the Museum of the City of Sibenik and the interpretation centre of the Cathedral of St. James, free admission,” explained Dino Karadjole.

Through the ”control destination board” in Sibenik, they then tested the concentration of tourists and locals in a certain period of time on Thursday compared to another day of the week, and compared the differences between a day full of content and activities compared to everyday life on another ordinary day. They were especially interested in whether the existence of the content in the time interval from 18:00 to 21:00 would increase the number of visitors, or motivate them to come to the city a little earlier than usual.

The results of counting tourists using four different camera counters really showed that there was an increase in the number of tourists in that period and that the cameras recorded an increase. Karadjole pointed out that there is a good basis for further research and application of a smart control panel for informed resource management and planning assistance, especially when it comes to notoriously busy Croatian tourist destinations.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here