The city of Dubrovnik is banning rolling suitcases in town: from now on, tourists will have to carry their suitcases and no longer roll them. At first sight, a coercive measure, but one that promises to improve the travel experience for tourists.
[Update: since numerous articles have appeared on the subject, the city of Dubrovnik has made it clear that the following is not a ban but a recommendation…].
Dubrovnik has already won over Games of Thrones fans
Nicknamed “the pearl of the Adriatic”, Dubrovnik is a superb city and one of our favorite places to visit in recent years. But it’s also a victim of its own success, much to the dismay of local residents and sometimes even tourists.
Not to mention the influx of tourists in the old town, which can be unpleasant in high season, the city has other nuisances to contend with.
First of all, it had to battle Games of Thrones syndrome in recent years. In fact, for those who don’t know, part of the series was shot there, with the town embodying the city of King’s Landing.
Many fans then came as if on a pilgrimage to visit it, which was good for tourism, and re-enact scenes from the ” Walk of Shame ” in the city center, which was far less good for the comfort and tranquility of other tourists and for the town’s reputation.
But having succeeded in reducing the number of tourists and banning this behavior, which was damaging the town’s reputation for tranquillity, the town council had to face up to another scourge: wheeled suitcases.
The scourge of rolling suitcases on the streets of Dubrovnik
Ever pulled a wheeled suitcase over cobblestones? Inconfortable, certes, mais surtout bruyant. Noisy for you, but also, and above all, for local residents.
In a completely cobbled old town, where most streets are very narrow and the windows of the houses close to the street, and where thousands of tourists pour in every day, the situation has become untenable for local residents. So after dealing with restaurant noise, the mayor decided to crack down.
The City Council has taken the bull by the horns: from summer 2023, tourists will have to carry their suitcases, not pull them, through the streets of the city.
A decision that won’t make life any easier for tourists, but which in the medium term will bring them considerable added comfort.
Baggage handling globally reinvented in Dubrovnik
This measure is only the first in a process we believe to be beneficial and virtuous.
From November onwards, tourists will no longer be allowed to enter the old town with their luggage: they will be required to leave it in a locker at the entrance to the town, and it will be delivered to their place of residence against payment. Some may see this as discomfort, but we see it as an improved experience instead of long walks in the pedestrian city, dragging your suitcase over cobblestones and up and down stairs. Especially for people with mobility problems or families with children.
But this is just the final step towards something much more interesting: the city’s ambition is to create a logistics center at the airport. Tourists would drop off their luggage there, to be collected a little later at their place of residence.
A solution which, roller noise or not, would certainly be appreciated by many tourists in many cities, and would be a win-win situation for everyone. A bit like what Alltheway has been offering in Paris since June, but the other way round.
In the meantime, this may come as a shock to tourists unaccustomed to what they may initially see as a constraint. That’s why the city communicates on the subject and more generally on the set of rules it has begun to implement as part of its “Respect the city” program which covers dress, behavior, respect for heritage, the consumption of alcohol and more generally of drinks and food on the streets, litter, animals, motorcycles, cigarette butts….and wheeled suitcases!
Efforts that really need to be made: while Dubrovnik was already facing a heavy load given its small size, tourism there is now 32% up compared to 2022, not least because Croatia has joined the Schengen area.
In order to preserve its tourism reputation and the comfort of its residents, Dubrovnik wants to change tourist behavior by imposing new rules and educating the public. Taken as a whole, these rules contribute as much to making tourism acceptable to locals as they do to improving the experience of most tourists.
What about you? Do you understand all the rules set up by Dubrovnik city council? Can you understand why a city would do this to remain a quality destination? Do you think they benefit tourists too? Or do you think it’s going too far, because vacations should remain a time of freedom?
PS: If this prompts you to find a hotel outside the old town, there’s the excellent Sheraton Dubrovnik….